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Indoor spaces secured for people in Victoria experiencing homelessness

Indoor spaces secured for people in Victoria experiencing homelessness

March 11, 2021 at 10:28 am  BC, News, Politics

A sufficient number of indoor spaces to support moving Victoria’s encampment residents inside have been secured through an ongoing partnership between the City of Victoria, the Province and BC Housing.

Announcement of the final site list will be done in partnership with the city in the coming weeks once all of the agreements between BC Housing and the property owners have closed.

Work to move encampment residents inside has begun. Because two of the sites secured this month by BC Housing require significant additional retrofitting to prepare them for use as emergency shelters, the process will continue until the end of April 2021, rather than the end of March as originally planned.

“A significant number of people and organizations had to come together for us to identify enough spaces to get people inside. People are finally moving inside right now, thanks to these efforts,” said David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing. “Although we had hoped to secure additional buildings that were ready to go for housing, and BC Housing chased down several leads, we didn’t get lucky. We’ll need the extra weeks to prepare the two new secured sites for use as shelter before moving folks inside.”

All the locations will be fully operational, with non-profit service providers identified, by April 30, 2021. At these locations, staff will be on site 24/7 to provide wraparound supports, including meal programs, life skills training, and health and wellness support services.

“The Province and BC Housing have worked really hard and everyone currently living in the parks will be offered an indoor space as a pathway to permanent housing,” said Lisa Helps, mayor, City of Victoria. “Parks are not homes. Once all of the offers have been made and all the spaces open, the city will once again prohibit 24/7 sheltering. Everyone deserves a safe, secure home with supports as needed. The leadership of the Province means we are well on our way to achieving that goal.”

The Province and BC Housing have been working to secure sufficient indoor spaces, including reactivating the Save On Foods Memorial Centre shelter, which is at capacity, supporting tiny homes development led by the private sector, acquiring and leasing new buildings, and deploying additional rent supplements.

The new sites identified to support decampment are not located in the Burnside Gorge neighbourhood.

Quick Facts:

  • BC Housing has more than 3,000 homes either complete or underway in the Capital Regional District, including almost 900 underway in the City of Victoria.
  • BC Housing estimates that there are more than 200 people living in encampments in Victoria.

Learn More:

A map showing the location of all announced provincially funded housing projects in B.C. is  available online: https://www.bchousing.org/homes-for-BC

To learn about the steps the Province is taking to tackle the housing crisis and deliver affordable homes for British Columbians, visit: https://workingforyou.gov.bc.ca/

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