Category: Stacey Hassard Letters

Partnership & Collaboration form new Housing Action Plan

Stacey Hassard, MLA for Pelly-Nisutlin

As submitted to the Whitehorse Star on Friday, June 19th, 2015
by Stacey Hassard, Minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation

Your Yukon government is pleased to release the results of two years of hard work by the many organizations who gathered together to identify solutions to Yukon’s housing needs. The new made-in-Yukon Housing Action Plan will guide the territory’s housing priorities for the next decade.

The plan brought together NGOs, the private sector, First Nations, social agencies and all levels of government to develop innovative solutions to help address Yukon’s needs. It identifies a three-stage housing continuum – housing with services, rental housing, and home ownership – all three of which can be important to Yukoners at different times in their lives. The plan considers changing demands for housing and how they will be addressed in the future.

One of the concerns heard in the process of developing the Housing Action Plan is the need for ongoing financial literacy training so that more people can be better prepared for home ownership.

In response to that feedback, the Yukon Housing Corporation has recently launched the Home Ownership Preparedness and Education Program (HOPE) to help prepare people who are interested in owning their first home.

The two-day program asks participants if home ownership is right for them and compares the features and benefits of both home ownership and renting. It also covers the drawbacks of buying or renting and the responsibilities that come with owning your home. Classes are free and the first offering will be held on June 20 and 21 in Whitehorse.

The program will be delivered by local professionals including Yukon Real Estate Association, Jill Pollack and Company, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce’s Whitehorse branch, the Bank of Montreal’s Whitehorse branch, Habitat for Humanity Yukon and the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

We are very pleased with the successful collaboration that created the Housing Action Plan, and believe it will complement the government’s five recently-announced housing funding initiatives. These programs offer something for both consumers and suppliers of housing, including homeowners, landlords, developers and contractors, working families, tenants and Yukon’s vulnerable populations. These investments are designed to bring broad-based benefits to Yukoners and to build on the work already being done to increase access to housing.

The new programs include: the Municipal Matching Rental Construction Program; Rental Quality Enhancement Grants; Accessibility Enhancement Grants; Housing Allowances for Families; and an expansion of Yukon Housing Corporation’s Rent Supplement Program. These programs are making use of the last of the Northern Housing Trust funds from the Government of Canada as well as federal funding secured through the Investment in Affordable Housing Agreement. Applications are now available at your local Yukon Housing Corporation office or from the Yukon Housing website. Some of these programs are time-limited, so applicants are encouraged to learn which program best meets their needs and to apply early.

On behalf of the Yukon government, I want to thank everyone who provided input and helped create the new Housing Action Plan. Diverse housing options are a springboard for healthy and stable communities, and that benefits everyone. I look forward to continuing to work together to address the housing needs of Yukoners.

To see the Plan and learn more about housing options in Yukon, visit housing.yk.ca.