A six-storey and 48-unit building has opened in Victoria to house young adults experiencing homelessness, which will house the current 12 occupants of Tiny Town on Caledonia Avenue.
The building, at 1075 Meares Street, is made up of self-contained studio homes with a kitchenette and washroom. The building will also have a commercial kitchen, tenant support offices, a dining and lounge area, and laundry.
“With the opening of this new building, we’re providing young people in Victoria with the support and opportunity they need to achieve their potential,” said Ravi Kahlon, B.C.’s minister of housing. “We’re proud to work with partners to give people of all ages the tools to support themselves, and we’ll continue to do so to ensure people in need have a safe and secure place to call home.”
The site, operated by Beacon Community Services, will house young adults aged 19 to 27. Staff will be on site 24/7.
The provincial government provided $21.2 million for the project, and the federal government contributed $2.5 million.
“In our commitment to addressing the unique needs of young adults in Victoria, we understand the importance of collaborating with organizations who understand the community,” said Sean Fraser, federal minister of housing, infrastructure and communities.
This housing project is one that residents from Tiny Town, operating on Caledonia Avenue, were slated to move into as the shipping container housing units were slated to shut at the end of September.
On Sept. 21, CHEK News spoke with those involved in operating Tiny Town about the uncertainty the 12 young adults living in the complex were facing as 1075 Meares St. was not yet ready to open, but Tiny Town’s licence was expiring.
Due to the fact that 1075 Meares Street was not yet ready for residents to move in, Tiny Town was granted a one-month extension to the licence so the 12 residents would not be kicked out without another place to live.
Our Place Society spokesperson says the 12 residents will now begin the process of moving over to Meares Street.
The federal and provincial governments have committed to building six supportive sites with 280 homes for people experiencing homelessness in the capital region.
“This housing represents a significant, tangible response to the urgent issue of homelessness among young adults in Victoria,” Marianne Alto, mayor of Victoria said.
“These 48 homes, with 24/7 support services, are critically needed in our community. We are grateful for the investment from the Province, as we work together to provide shelter, support, and hope for those who need it most.”
Beacon Community Services’ CEO, Tricia Gueulette, says the building on Meares Street will offer supports for people to get back on their feet.
“We believe this purpose-built property and the support model are an innovative opportunity to provide safe and stable housing for young adults at risk of homelessness in Victoria,” said Tricia Gueulette, CEO, Beacon Community Services. “We are offering not just shelter, but the supports required to thrive as they move forward on their journey to independent living.”
-With files from CHEK’s Kori Sidaway