BC Housing has purchased a building in Victoria West that will be able to temporarily house 70 residents, who are experiencing homelessness, before the end of April. (Black Press Media file photo)

BC Housing has purchased a building in Victoria West that will be able to temporarily house 70 residents, who are experiencing homelessness, before the end of April. (Black Press Media file photo)

BC Housing creates 70 new shelter spaces in Victoria

Vic West site will have wrapround supports for residents, operate for at least 18 months

BC Housing has purchased a building in Victoria West to temporarily house 70 residents who are experiencing homelessness, before the end of April.

The newly secured indoor shelter spaces come one month before Victoria prepares to reinstate a bylaw banning daytime public camping on May 1.

The spaces will be located in a building at 225 Russell St., which is currently under renovation so that it can operate as a temporary shelter and provide supports for residents. A B.C. news release said residents will be able to move in by the end of April and the shelter will be open for 18 months, with a possible extension of another six months.

Our Place Society, a non-profit experienced in helping the unhoused, will operate the building and provide supports that include daily meals, access to sanity and hygiene facilities, storage for belongings and health and wellness program access and referrals.

READ: Victoria’s daytime park camping prohibition back in effect May 1

“In order to hit our target of bringing everyone in tents in parks in Victoria inside by the end of April, this building is a necessary part of the plan,” said David Eby, B.C.’s minister responsible for housing. “While this purchase helps us reach our initial goal of dignified shelter by the end of next month, the site will also support our work to deliver stable, safe, long-term homes for people living in parks in Victoria when it is ultimately redeveloped.”

The province and Victoria have identified about 200 people who are currently living in outdoor encampments. The release said 116 people experiencing homeless in the city have have moved into supportive housing or shelter spaces, such as the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre and the Capital City Centre Hotel, since January.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said the new spaces will help provide people currently sheltering in parks a pathway to permanent housing.

“I want to thank the province and the residents of Vic West for welcoming some of the region’s most vulnerable residents on a temporary basis as they begin their journey to housing,” she said. “We look forward to working with the province and neighbourhood residents on the long-term plan for the site.”

After the Russell property’s use as a temporary shelter, the release said BC Housing will engage the community on a redevelopment proposal for supportive housing, which will follow the municipal rezoning process.

READ: Here’s what Victoria’s community care tent meant to those who ran and used it


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