A Home For Everyone: A Housing Action Plan For Whitehorse
Whitehorse is a beautiful community of over 26,000. Employment levels are solid. According to the 2010 Official Community Plan (OCP), residents value our city’s natural beauty and closeness to nature, our sense of community, our local businesses, our quality of life, our vibrant arts and cultural community, and the contributions of First Nations. The OCP also states that we value leadership, are proud of our accomplishments, and support innovators and new ideas.
Yet, like many communities in Canada, Whitehorse is experiencing a housing crisis. According to the Yukon Bureau of Statistics, the December 2010 vacancy rate for rental accommodation was 1.3%. That represents 11 vacant apartments out of the 837 surveyed. The average house sale price was $368,800 in the second quarter of 2010. If you are a single person on social assistance, your benefits will cover $501 for shelter; a family of four’s shelter allowance is $822. The waiting list for Yukon Housing sits at 142 files, Grey Mountain Housing has 80 First Nations families on its waitlist. The Salvation Army emergency shelter is being used as ‘housing’ and the city’s two hostels are often full. New workers can’t find housing, and what can be found is often unaffordable or inadequate.
It is a distressing picture. We have four levels of government, and according to the Yukon Volunteer Bureau, over 80 health
and social non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in and around Whitehorse. Yet appropriate and sufficient housing eludes us. The challenges of working together coupled with the complexities of meeting a variety of community needs can seem daunting. In fact, it can lead to paralysis. Meanwhile, those who need housing remain without options.
Thankfully, there are answers. Work is underway on many levels by individuals and governments. YAPC’s A Home for Everyone strategy focuses information and ideas gathered from every part of the community to provide more and better housing options for all Whitehorse residents.
A Home for Everyone is based on YAPC’s belief that:
· Housing is a human right; safe, secure, affordable housing should be available to all citizens
· Our community has the ability and creativity to solve its housing crisis
· We have enough evidence to move forward — we don’t need to study the issue any more
· Working together —collaboratively— will get us there
· Other cities have been where we are; we can learn from their successes
· A ‘Housing First’ approach makes for healthier communities
A Home for Everyone is our invitation to you to be a part of this collaborative effort. What we need is leadership, action and a commitment to make Whitehorse a community where everyone has a home. Please join us!
Type of Resource:
Whitehorse, YK, Canada