A new mixed-use building with 45 rental units, meant to provide vulnerable people and people with disabilities a safe and affordable living space, was officially opened Wednesday in Whitehorse.
The rental units at the Cornerstone Affordable and Supportive Housing Development building, on the corner of 7 Avenue and Main Street, are already filled.
Opportunities Yukon, a not-for-profit organization that assists people with disabilities in becoming active and independent, is behind the project, which has been in the works since 2016.
Jillian Hardie, the executive director of the organization, said the official opening of the building is a dream come true.
"You know, there was always the dream and a lot of prayers put into this, and yeah, did I ever think this wasn't going to happen? There were times when I didn't," said Hardie.
She said it was made possible with support from the community.
Affordable housing remains a problem
Despite the 45 new rental units, affordable housing remains a real problem in Whitehorse, she said.
"The need is incredible. We already have 150 people on the waiting list. Yukon Housing has a huge waiting list as well, and we see the need within our community," said Hardie.
Tamara Perzan is a tenant in the new building and has been involved with the housing project from the beginning.
"Cornerstone has the capacity to achieve phenomenal things through personal experience with mobility issues and barriers through employment. I can say this will be a turning point for many people here in the Yukon," she said.
She added there will be a lot of different supports for people who call the new building their home.
The Government of Canada contributed over $15.1 million to the project while Yukon contributed approximately $7.6 million, and the City of Whitehorse contributed $1 million.
The new building has accessibility features to allow residents with disabilities to live in comfort and includes employment and training support, and a medical room.
The mixed-use six-story building also includes eight market-rate condominiums, a café, retail space, office space and a common space for people to gather and hold workshops.