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Housing First complex under construction in Watson Lake

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by ahnationtalk on August 25, 2023123 Views

Aug. 25, 2023

The Government of Yukon, with the support of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, is pleased to announce that construction of a 10-unit Housing First Complex in Watson Lake is now underway.

The complex was designed with input from the Liard First Nation Chief and Council, the Town of Watson Lake Mayor and Council, and local community members.

The Housing First complex will provide permanent, low-barrier housing for up to 10 people who are experiencing or are at risk of homelessness. The complex will have eight studio apartments, two one-bedroom apartments, along with common areas and space for staff offices.

This Housing First complex will help address a gap in supportive housing identified in a 2020 housing needs assessment of Watson Lake. It will also help respond to the recommendations made in the Auditor General of Canada’s performance audit on the state of housing for vulnerable Yukoners. A Housing First complex in Watson Lake supports the goal of ensuring successful tenancies and positive outcomes for vulnerable community members.

The anticipated completion date is fall 2024.

This project supports our strong belief that all Yukoners deserve a place to call home. Safe and appropriate housing is a basic building block for any thriving community. The Watson Lake Housing First initiative is another example of a successful, collaborative endeavour that provides vulnerable Yukoners with high-quality housing and support services, encouraging social integration and networks of support.

Premier and Minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation Ranj Pillai

Through the Watson Lake Housing First Initiative, our goal is to help community members maintain their housing, promote recovery and encourage self-sufficiency. Our focus is to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those in need of a place to call home. Creating 10 new units for the Watson Lake community are an important step towards putting people first.

Minister of Health and Social Services Tracy-Anne McPhee

I am thrilled to announce a monumental step forward in our ongoing efforts to address homelessness and provide support to those in need within our community. The Watson Lake Housing First initiative is a beacon of hope that aligns perfectly with our town’s values of health and safety. The establishment of the Housing First complex at 807 Lakeview Avenue signifies our commitment to offering immediate and lasting solutions to homelessness. This project, made possible through collaboration with Yukon Housing and the Town of Watson Lake, demonstrates our collective determination to create positive change. As we look ahead, let us remember that this endeavour not only enhances the lives of those finding their way back to stable housing but also contributes to the broader goals outlined in the Housing Action Plan for the Yukon. Let us continue to work together to ensure a brighter future for all members of our community.

Mayor of Watson Lake Christopher Irvin

Quick facts

  • Housing First is an approach to ending homelessness that centres on moving people experiencing homelessness into permanent housing. It provides people with immediate access to housing with no housing “readiness” requirements.
  • The Watson Lake Housing First complex is located at 807 Lakeview Avenue in Watson Lake.
  • The tender for the construction was issued to Atkinson Construction Ltd. for $11.5 million.
  • The total cost for the project is $13.1 million, through a joint contribution from Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation and Yukon Housing Corporation.
  • The Yukon Housing Corporation is contributing $6.35 million. Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s contribution is $6.75 million through the National Housing Co-Investment Fund northern carve-out.
  • The Watson Lake Housing First complex will be operated by the Department of Health and Social Services and other key partners once complete.
  • Implementing another Housing First initiative directly supports goals in the Housing Action Plan for the Yukon and the Safe at Home – Community Based Plan to End and Prevent Homelessness.
  • In 2019, the Government of Yukon opened the territory’s first-ever Housing First residence in Whitehorse. Connective and Council of Yukon First Nations assumed operations of this facility in 2021.
  • The Department of Health and Social Services will build on the success of and take into consideration the lessons learned from the Housing First complex in Whitehorse to develop the programming and operate the facility.
Media contact

Renée Francoeur
Cabinet Communications

Julie Ménard
Yukon Housing Corporation

Mairi Macrae
Health and Social Services


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