Whitehorse Celebrates New Affordable Housing

WHITEHORSE, YUKON, February 18, 2014 — Yukoners living with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) have a new place to call home in Whitehorse. The Governments of Canada and Yukon, along with community partners, led by the Options for Independence Society, gathered today to celebrate the official opening of a new building providing 14 new housing units.

Ryan Leef, Member of Parliament for Yukon, on behalf of the Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development), along with Brad Cathers, Minister responsible for Yukon Housing Corporation, attended the opening of the new apartments.

“We are proud to be a partner celebrating the opening of this residence,” said Minister Bergen. “All the years of hard work are making a real difference in the lives of residents who call this home. Our Government remains committed to working with our partners to develop and implement solutions to housing both in Whitehorse and across Canada.”

“Our Government’s investment in affordable housing here in Whitehorse is helping to improve the quality of life of individuals in need, and also contributing to the social well-being of the entire community,”said MP Leef.

“I am pleased to see this residence completed and ready to provide safe and secure housing for Options for Independence Society’s tenants,” said Minister Cathers. “I would also like to acknowledge the support from the Government of Canada in helping to make this affordable housing project a reality. A key benefit of these partnerships is in creating legacy projects such as this one that will assist Yukoners for decades to come.”

“This facility will provide a safe environment for some of our most vulnerable citizens who face real challenges. I am happy that as a government we are able to assist more people who are in need of this type of support,” said Minister of Health and Social Services, Doug Graham. “The opening of the new building also demonstrates this government’s commitment to providing services to those in need in this community.”

Funding for the project comes from the $5.9 million Investment in Affordable Housing (IAH) 2011-2014 Agreement between the Governments of Canada and Yukon. Yukon has opted to maintain the existing affordable housing and renovation programs delivery arrangements and funded this project through the extension of the 2009 Affordable Housing Initiative. The federal government provided $1.05 million to the Options for Independence group, while Yukon Housing Corporation Joint Venture Loan Program provided $2 million in construction and mortgage financing. Health and Social Services will contribute $553,000 annually to operation and maintenance of the program.

“We are here today to celebrate the partnerships, without which this important housing initiative could not have been created,” said Sharon Hickey, Options for Independence Society president. “Because of these partnerships, in addition to our existing six tenants, eight more Yukoners have a new place to call home—a home that will be theirs for as long as they need it.”

Options for Independence promotes independent living for adults living with FASD, by delivering housing, support and supervision. The new building will allow the Options for Independence Society to provide housing and program services for up to 26 residents.

Annually, the Government of Canada, through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), will invest approximately $2 billion in housing. Of this amount, $1.7 billion will be spent in support of close to 600,000 households living in existing social housing. In Yukon, this represents an estimated 1,150 households. The remaining funding supports housing-related activities and affordable housing programs, including the Investment in Affordable Housing. These investments are improving the quality of life for low-income Canadians and households living in existing social housing, including individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, seniors, persons with disabilities, recent immigrants and Aboriginal people. Economic Action Plan 2013 continues this commitment with a federal investment of more than $1.25 billion over five years to renew the Investment in Affordable Housing to 2019. The Government of Canada will ensure that funds provided to provinces and territories support the use of apprentices, which will support training of skilled labour. Close to 177,600 households across Canada are no longer in housing need as a result of funding provided under the IAH from April 1, 2011 to December 31, 2013.

Yukon Housing Corporation works to resolve existing and emerging housing challenges in the territory by providing social, senior and staff housing, as well as other programs to assist Yukoners to build, purchase, upgrade and repair their homes. Yukon Housing Corporation supports citizens in need to find and maintain suitable and attainable accommodation. The corporation also collaborates with all levels of government including First Nations, non-profit organizations and others to find innovative housing solutions.

To learn more about:

How the Government of Canada and CMHC are working to build stronger homes and communities for all Canadians, call CMHC at 1-800-668-2642.
Yukon Housing Corporation, visit www.housing.yk.ca.
Media contacts:

Andrew McGrath
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of State
(Social Development)

Michele Klein
Communications, CMHC

Elaine Schiman
Cabinet Communications

Doug Caldwell
Yukon Housing Corporation


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