Letter to the Editor: Housing Action Plan - March 26, 2015

Dear Editor:

Spring weather marks the two year anniversary (March 26, 2013) of the Minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation proudly boasting of his government’s plan to develop a Housing Action Plan for Yukoners.  Two years later, Yukon residents who have and continue to struggle with housing issues are asking, “Where’s the plan”?

We appreciate the time it takes to research the Yukon’s housing market. It has been researched many times over the years.  The housing challenges faced by a large proportion of Yukon residents are evident, one just needs to ask the Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition or, better yet, read the Housing Action Plan report they prepared and presented to the Yukon Government in 2011.  The coalition’s plan developed nearly five years ago, through workshops, research and input from community members, focuses information and ideas that will provide more and better housing options for residents. Yukoners struggling with housing issues are asking, “Why is the government researching stuff that everyone already knows”? The sad part of this story is there are people struggling while this on-going research is taking place.

Yukon residents understand there will likely be some big announcements in the next few months as we near a territorial election.  These pre-election announcements are typical strategies used by the Yukon Party.  The Yukon Party believes Yukoners have short memories.

These announcements will surely require funding from the government’s coffers of money held back from previous years. Funding which was available and could very well have helped Yukon residents struggling with housing issues. 

At this point in time one has to ask the Premier why he didn’t help those who needed help in the past years and why he chooses to strategically announce spending on housing only in the months prior to an election.

On the same note, why does this government continue to withhold some of the Northern Housing Trust money allocated in 2006? This money was earmarked for affordable housing and this government continues to allow some Yukon residents to struggle with housing issues while they withhold funding provided by the federal government to assist those people in need.  The one serious attempt made at addressing affordable housing collapsed last summer due to political interference. Subsequent announcements have focused on social not affordable housing. Furthermore, the government continues to withhold funding which could help many Yukon residents.  So once again, we ask the Premier “where’s the plan”?



Sandy Silver
Leader, Yukon Liberal Party