End homelessness in the territory by implementing the 10 community calls to action from Safe at Home Society and participate fully into Coordinated Housing Access Team (CHAT) process.
What is the challenge?
The Yukon is in the midst of a housing crisis. House prices and rental rates are at an all time high, vacancy rates are at an all time low, and over 200 in Whitehorse are without homes. Women, black, indigenous and women of colour, as well as folks in the 2SLGTBQQIA + community experience unique barriers to finding a home and keeping a home over the long term.
These folks experience discrimination when trying to rent or event buy a home, increased rates of violence, mental health and addiction struggles for these folks, also make it harder to keep a home.
Although documented, chronic homelessness is currently experienced by 206 people as of October 2022 in the Yukon, change is very slow to reach zero. Many reasons can explain this challenge despite the Yukon having a Quality By-Name List and dedicated organizations working towards that goal: decision makers are not prioritizing homelessness and housing, regulations are not updated to reflect the needs, the fundamental rights and the realities of people living in the Yukon today, the incentives on new programs and accessibility to programs and funds for the most vulnerable population regarding housing are not created.
Chronic homelessness is only part of the picture though. There is also a need to assess the hidden homelessness component, the prevalent form of homelessness experienced disproportionately by women, girls and gender-diverse people. According to The Pan-Canadian Women’s Housing and Homelessness Survey, these groups of people experience homelessness in a very different way than men. Among the 10 key findings summarizing this survey, some of the issues identified were linked to low income, safety, eviction, barriers to accessing emergency services, reports of high exposure to trauma and violence, and having a disability.
In Yukon women are disproportionately represented on the the buy name list, which represents chronic homelessness, is comprised of 69 children and youth, 69 first nations women and 92 women. We also know there is a large hidden homeless population of women, trans, intersex, non binary, two spirit and agender folks, especially youth in our communities.
Gender-based violence can be directly linked to homelessness. Experiencing a breakup was the primary reason that women and gender diverse people lost their most recent housing. This suggests that housing for these groups is deeply dependent upon maintaining a personal relationship with a man, partner, or other person.
WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN:
Safe At Home has a list of 10 recommendations to eliminate homelessness: they all have yet to be implemented by the Yukon government, the City of Whitehorse, and the communities across the Yukon, as well as within public and private organizations, and involvement from the general public, to address this crisis.
Governments need to:
- ban no-cause and discriminatory evictions, and discriminatory requirements into housing, (1-10)
- update and create clear regulations for the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants in the Yukon (5-9)
- Increase financial supports, create new programs and provide resources for people to be housed more efficiently and stay housed in a safe environment. (2-3-8)
- Participate fully in the Coordinated Housing Access Team process which is a proven method for reducing chronic homelessness in a community piloted by Built for Zero Canada.
The City of Whitehorse needs to regulate short-term and vacation rentals by allowing priority to urgent housing needs instead of tourism. (6)
Public and private organizations need to include disclaimers about the housing crisis when recruiting abroad. (7)
The Yukon Housing Corporation needs to keep (live) updates and data on vacancies from Yukon Housing Units and find a way to share this information with the Coordinated Access Team. (4)
WHAT CAN YOU DO:
- You can donate to women’s organizations and shelters, and to any organization on the Coordinated Access Team List from Yukon Safe At Home that work towards the goal of eliminating homelessness.
- You can learn about the different types of homelessness in the Yukon and how hidden homelessness for women, girls, and gender diverse people is linked to gender-based violence.
- You can find solutions into opening your home to allow rental units that are accessible for people seeking a place to call home.