Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

HOUSING IS THE ISSUE – Pauline Frost, the minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corp., addresses the participants of the Yukon housing forum this morning. Seated, from left to right, are Ta’an Kwäch’än Council Chief Kristina Kane, Kwanlin Dün First Nation Chief Doris Bill and Mayor Dan Curtis.

Homelessness remains crucial issue, chief says

Housing and homelessness are the topics de jour for Nov. 22.

By Taylor Blewett on November 22, 2017

Housing and homelessness are the topics de jour for Nov. 22.

National Housing Day is being recognized across the country, and in Whitehorse, governments and community partners are hosting a Yukon housing forum.

Pauline Frost, the minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corp., Kwanlin Dün First Nation Chief Doris Bill, Ta’an Kwäch’än Council Chief Kristina Kane, and Mayor Dan Curtis provided the forum’s opening comments.

“It is no secret homelessness and vulnerability issues have been part of this community for some time,” Bill told forum participants at the Westmark Whitehorse Hotel.

“We have all seen it. We have all heard about it in the media. And from all accounts, it has not gotten any better.”

The issue of homelessness in the Yukon is “complex and multifaceted,” she said, and it requires “meaningful solutions” beyond just temporary shelter.

That’s why the Vulnerable People at Risk Forum was hosted for the first time in April 2015.

Kwanlin Dün and the City of Whitehorse “invited other governments, businesses, organizations, and the public to come together to share ideas and insights on how to better support people at risk and find solutions to end homelessness,” according to the Vulnerable People at Risk Initiative website.

The initiative gained momentum and partners, culminating in the release of the Safe at Home action plan on Sept. 30 of this year.

It is this action plan that today’s forum revolves around.

Kane called it “revolutionary for our territory.”

Now that the strategy to end and prevent homeless in Whitehorse has been established, the next step is implementation, according to Kane.

She told forum participants that safe and secure housing is the first step in improving Yukoners’ lives.

Frost acknowledged that “we’ve come a long ways” in addressing homelessness in Whitehorse, and that momentum will be furthered by impending announcements from Ottawa and the territorial government.

Today, the federal government released its National Housing Strategy, to which billions of dollars have been allocated.

“The details are still a bit grey for us,” Frost said. But she emphasized that she will be pressing Ottawa to make resources available to the Yukon.

Specific attention must be paid to housing young people, the aging population, and those in rural communities, she said.

The minister promised transparency and the provision of more details on the federal plan when they become available.

In response to housing questions from the political opposition and the media, Frost often made references to incremental change and models like Aging in Place and Housing First – an observation she made in her opening comments at the forum.

This is because, she explained, “there’s no black and there’s no white, there’s a lot of grey” when it comes to housing and homelessness in the Yukon.

However, Frost told the audience to stay tuned for the announcement of a “true Housing First initiative” soon.

Comments (9)

Up 7 Down 2

drum on Nov 24, 2017 at 6:54 pm

All the money that the FN are making in this Territory between hand outs and money from investments why can they not look after their own homeless people? Why should I as a retiree and a taxpayer (lots of FN manage to avoid paying taxes) pay for FN homeless people?

Up 8 Down 1

Josey Wales on Nov 23, 2017 at 9:59 pm

I have a suggestion folks.
We could defund cbc and use that annual near two BILLION dollars, to build houses for all the poor folks.

Up 5 Down 0

Josey Wales on Nov 23, 2017 at 9:53 pm

Yeah good luck with this Crusade. We should endorse a campaign to rid the world of stupid too. Seems the increase in stupidity as of late is exponential to any alleged homelessness crisis.

Up 5 Down 0

Groucho d'North on Nov 23, 2017 at 5:25 pm

I think its more of a people problem than a housing problem.
Too many people who do not have the means to pay even basic rent- why is another issue entirely, and for another day.
Too few people who know how or are motivated to perform the required level of maintenance to a home in this environment.
Too many people scamming the social housing system so it will never become self-supporting.
Too few people in a position of influence who have the capacity and vision to fix these situations while they are in power - again why is another issue entirely, and for another day.
The problems have been known for a long time and not much changes.
Until there is some ownership of these situations by the people who should be responsible, I doubt there will be any progress on improvement.

Up 8 Down 1

areyou kiddnme on Nov 23, 2017 at 12:40 pm

Personally I am tired of paying, and will be voting accordingly.

Up 12 Down 1

jc on Nov 22, 2017 at 9:29 pm

And besides, I really want to know exactly what FN is doing for their own people. With all the businesses they own tax free plus all the government money they get every year that doesn't have to accounted for, they keep coming to the taxpayer trough for more. I really want to see what they are bringing to the table besides complaints and demands for more money.

Up 11 Down 1

jc on Nov 22, 2017 at 9:24 pm

But like the Conservative opposition leader said, the Liberal government isn't going to cut the cheque until just before the next election. So, we taxpayers which now represent the minority in Canada, will have to pay for Liberal votes. It's quite apparent the PM is using all this as a vote getting tactic. He has the refugees, 3rd world immigrants and now the (so-called ) homeless to get his Libs elected in the next election.

Up 4 Down 5

Lost in the Yukon on Nov 22, 2017 at 5:40 pm

Frost says "stay tuned" ... she has probably been watching way too much Fox News and is starting to adopt the rhetoric of Donald Trump and his propensity to "tease" up coming announcements (as a way of avoiding an answer today). All we need next is to hear her say she's going to "Make the Yukon Great Again".

Up 10 Down 1

joe on Nov 22, 2017 at 5:21 pm

What a joke, more bureaucracy, more studies, more plans, lol ... They hold these housing forums and invite those who say the same things they do" more studies". There is not a lot of grey, we all know the answers. Four years ago YHC cleaned house and dumped all the experts now they are floating around trying to develop ideas.

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