Don't Give Up Before You Start
Updated: Mar 17
Hi, I’m Dave Weir, Im speaking to you today from the traditional territory of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations.
Let’s not give up before we start.
In the conversations I’ve been having with folks, the topic of housing - affordable housing, or just any kind of housing - has come up a lot. What has struck me is that while so many of us recognize the importance of housing, when people talk about it, it’s almost always accompanied with an air of resignation, as if a housing shortage is unavoidable.
I’ve built a lot of houses, and my default is to think of housing from the point of view of a builder. But houses are so much more than that. They are a place from which to rebuild a life that has fallen apart, an investment, a place to have a family, a place to retire. The lack of housing in rural Yukon isn’t just an issue for the most vulnerable among us, it’s an issue for people trying to grow a business, it’s an issue for communities looking for stability for their families.
The great thing about houses is that we can build them. And that’s precisely what we need to do.
Here are three simple ideas to move us in the right direction:
1) Build social housing,
2) proper funding for rental programs, and
3) a program for purchasing modest houses.
In Haines Junction, there haven’t been any new social housing units built since the early 80’s. Since the 80’s! No wonder the waiting list is years long. Quite simply, we need to build more social housing units here and elsewhere.
YG has a program to encourage builders to build affordable rental housing - it’s called the Housing Initiatives Fund. Great program, but it’s so underfunded that it ends up making only a token contribution. If housing is a priority for our territory then quite simply we need to put our money where our mouth is.
A lot of folks worry about how their kids will be able to buy their first house when housing prices are so high. It’s a very valid concern. A program similar to the Housing Initiative Fund, but aimed at smaller, modest houses for sale instead of rental would work toward helping first time home buyers to move out of the rental market.
Yukon, we can do this. The small population of this territory makes housing a solvable problem. Let’s treat housing like the priority that it is.
Thanks for listening, and let me know what you think at weirlistening.ca