Whitehorse Daily Star

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Stephen Mead

Housing among vital needs: aging forum

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).

By Palak Mangat on February 4, 2019

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.

Comments (8)

Up 1 Down 0

Always Questions on Feb 10, 2019 at 8:05 pm

No question! Arkell like, 50' x 50' lot, small efficient south/west exposed, Stuctural Insulated Panel (SIP), 800-1200 sqft ish house (gardening options) - they're all over the place outside - time for our Yukon version. I'll even pay, just need the availability to be there.

Up 1 Down 0

Groucho d'North on Feb 10, 2019 at 4:17 pm

I hope there is some encouragement for the private sector to deliver home care services as is done in other provinces. The private option is often cheaper and selectable depending on one’s needs. Also a benefit is when government insurance systems can cover the cost directly rather than paying for the service and applying to government for compensation by claim.
Done right, private operators will hire the staff from colleges and universities to work delivering these services and gathering experience here in the northern health career environment. These workers could evolve into Yukon’s broader health services delivery and help to take the pressure off government to recruit and place new workers.

Up 6 Down 0

Jim on Feb 7, 2019 at 8:44 pm

@Politico, I’ve got some bad news for you. Maybe while you were not paying attention for the last 3 1/2 years, Justin Trudeau was elected as the Prime Minister of Canada. Maybe you and I didn’t vote for him, but he’s there. Enjoy. When the NDP gave the large LNG project a tax break, they didn’t give them tax dollars. They reduce their tax burden and reduced their carbon tax payments. So they still gain tax revenue, while creating hundreds of jobs who in turn pay taxes to help support things like welfare, unemployment and social programs. Maybe the Green Party can govern in a way that you prefer, but the top 3 parties are all guilty of pandering to large corporations.

Up 11 Down 4

Politico on Feb 7, 2019 at 1:33 pm

@Jim. First off he's not my Prime Minister and I believe that anyone caught with illegal off shore tax accounts should be prosecuted, unlike the Liberals and Conservatives seem to believe.
Tax breaks for business provide little benefit to people. As shown by the massive tax cuts in the US which which provided little trickle down benefits. Wages did not rise, employment remained the same and the investors made out like bandits.
When the tax cuts are made the money has to be made up somewhere. Usually welfare, public services and the unemployed are the ones that pay for the tax cuts.
If a company wants to take their operation somewhere else because of not getting a tax break I'm perfectly willing to take my business some where else, like Greedy Motors.

Up 17 Down 1

Jim on Feb 6, 2019 at 3:54 pm

Politico, do you really believe that it’s the tax breaks the conservatives give to large businesses is the root of the problem, or are you just anti-conservative? You do realize that all political parties do that. Even the NDP/Green coalition gave huge tax breaks to try and score the LNG project. They have to. If big business does not receive breaks, they just take their money and jobs elsewhere. As far as off shore accounts, how about your prime minister and his finance minister. I assume your ok with that. Governments of all stripes use their social assistance money to buy votes. Seniors are usually pretty entrenched in their political views. Hell, the government even calls old age pension a benefit even though it's money they have used throughout a seniors working years that they are finally returning.

Up 8 Down 26

Politico on Feb 6, 2019 at 12:18 pm

JJ. People who keep voting for the Conservatives and Yukon Party know that seniors come last because big business needs those tax breaks to stash in their oversea accounts and reward their investors.

Up 21 Down 0

drum on Feb 5, 2019 at 9:59 pm

I know too many long time residents who have many medical and disability issues, that have home care and doctors recommendations that they must have senior housing that have aids for their particular needs but they have been on waiting lists for years. Why? Are there special treatments for some or not others? I would think it is about money!!!!!!!!!!

Up 26 Down 7

Juniper Jackson on Feb 4, 2019 at 10:57 pm

The way government does things makes me livid. To live in Yukon Housing, you have to pay 25% of your gross income. That's money you don't even have, and never had, it went to income taxes. They could take 25% of your net income. Taxable income is how much cash you actually got..But no.. screw you out of every last cent.. the PUG is the same.. 2 people up to 60K but if you're a widow/widower otherwise alone, struggling to meet the bills because everyone knows if your wife or husband dies..you only have to pay half the rent, half the heat, half the light bills, you only have to pay half to the person that shovels the snow.. yup.. but all that really happens.. you have the same bills, but have less than half the money to pay them on.
You want to do something for seniors..build an affordable trailer park with some trails, paved road and sidewalk..you know..like the ones outside, where they can have privacy, a pet, a garden, a vehicle close to their door.. To be sure..some of the apartments are nice..as long as you don't get up after 10 p.m. have family in, cough, and don't mind parking your car half mile away.
I don't believe the government wants to do anything for seniors..except bury them.. I know several seniors that don't have the money to go to Vancouver to see specialists for Cancer, and one, brain damage.. it's $65.00 from Van airport to Holiday Inn by Van General, yeah..there's the Easter Seal House, and the cancer house, not free, but cheap, and there are almost always no room available. You have to book pretty far in advance to be sure of getting a space.. Why don't they just pay for everyone, regardless of sex, race, age, religion.. just pay for everyone to go..see the specialist.. pay the transport, and bring them home again.
The government of Canada can send $375 billion dollars to other countries but can't pay for a senior? or a baby? and his mama? Our governments, none of them, care about anything remotely resembling service.. oh.. and seniors have to pay for a lot of their drugs now.. the day where seniors were totally covered at 65 is over.

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