Yukon’s first ever Housing First residence has officially opened at the corner of Wood Street and Fifth Avenue in Whitehorse. Residents will begin moving in by the end of November.
The residence will operate under the Housing First philosophy, which is an approach to ending homelessness that provides vulnerable people with immediate access to housing with no housing ‘readiness’ requirements, such as sobriety or treatment. Staff will be on site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week supporting residents with a range of life skills and daily living activities, providing referrals to other services as needed and assisting residents with de-escalating difficult situations. There will also be other itinerant supports available, including counselling, nursing and outreach services to connect to the community.
Residents will be determined in collaboration with the Government of Yukon’s Coordinated Access partners using the By Name List, as well as other sources, to ensure that persons who most need this type of housing can access it.
The Housing First building has 16 self-contained units, including two one-bedroom and 14 studio-type apartments. Two units are barrier free. The one-bedroom units may be occupied by couples. It also has common space and staff offices.
Our Liberal government is committed to a Housing First approach to address homelessness and ensure the most vulnerable in our community get the support they need. This unprecedented project will provide permanent housing to persons who are experiencing homelessness and marks a major shift in the way Yukon provides housing and supports to those in acute need.
Minister of Health and Social Services and Minister Responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation Pauline Frost
The development of a Housing First model directly supports goals in the Housing Action Plan for Yukon and the Safe at Home Community Based Action Plan to End and Prevent Homelessness.