Photo by Whitehorse Star
Photo by Whitehorse Star
As the territory’s population grows and begins to show signs of aging, one of the entities looking at how to best meet their needs is the Yukon Housing Corp. (YHC).
The YHC will be looking at how to work with the Department of Health and Social Services (HSS) to meet one of the most important ones for seniors: housing.
It’s a topic that is sensitive but also full of opportunities, Stephen Mead, the YHC’s vice-president of operations, said last week.
“Right now, if you have any kind of needs beyond housing, and you’re in Yukon Housing, those needs are pretty challenging to get met,” he told the Star last Wednesday afternoon.
Mead said the YHC is not mandated nor designed to deliver services like those found in Whistle Bend Place (WBP), for instance, listing things like housekeeping and home care. Partnerships that allow for that could pave the way for the territory’s future, he added.
“Everybody knows that; it’s no secret that Yukon Housing offers independent living, we don’t offer supported living.
“There is nothing between that for seniors, until you get the continuing care which is Whistle Bend, full-no medical support.”
Finding projects that live within that gap is what the corporation is increasingly shifting its attention to, he told a crowd gathered at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre for last week’s Aging in Place Forum.
“I think if there’s other options, a lot of seniors will decide that better is served somewhere (else) – not because they don’t like what they’ve got, but it doesn’t offer them what they need,” he later added.
“Overall, the biggest initiative is we’re looking at how we deliver housing for the territory and seniors are a significant portion of our customers,” Mead said, guessing that much of the demand (about 90 per cent) in Whitehorse is from seniors.
In Yukon communities, he estimated that number to be a more modest 10 per cent. “So the growing seniors’ need is orders of magnitude more in Whitehorse.”
Last week’s event also saw officials from HSS, including assistant deputy minister Karen Chan, walk participants through some of the progress made in the past year.
It included the 2018 opening of the $146.6-million WBP site and the reablement and respite unit opening at Thomson Centre in December.
That site has allowed 10 people to take advantage of the program, which Chan noted is to help encourage residents return home as they are seen more as transition beds.
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