50 supportive housing spaces finished, but sit empty in Victoria

50 supportive housing spaces finished, but sit empty in Victoria
Tiny Town opened in May 2021 using shipping containers turned into supportive housing.

Despite construction being complete, a building offering supportive housing for 50 young adults in Victoria is sitting empty.

“We’re looking to finalize our operating agreement with our partner Beacon Community Services,” said Sara Goldvine, spokesperson for BC Housing.

Beacon Community Services did not respond to CHEK News’ request for comment.

The contract issues are coinciding with a separate micro-community called Tiny Town which is set to shut down at the end of the month. Sept. 30 is the last day of Tiny Town‘s license, which housed the region’s most vulnerable during the pandemic.

READ PREVIOUS: ‘Kinda sad to see it shutting down’: Victoria’s Tiny Town needs a home

Now, it’s a temporary home to a dozen or so young adults who are living there temporarily as they wait to move into the new supportive housing waiting to open at 1075 Meares Street, meaning they’re on the verge of displacement.

“We’re working closely with our partners, including the city of Victoria to ensure none of the residents go onto the street,” said Goldvine. “We should have more to share very soon.”

Though not answering CHEK News’ request for an interview, Colleen Mycroft, communications manager with the City of Victoria told CHEK News that council does have the ability to extend the license.

Goldvine with BC Housing wouldn’t say if an extension has already been applied for.

“If that extension is granted, Our Place would operate this until Meares Street opens, everybody’s out and then we shut it down,” said Grant McKenzie with Our Place, which currently operates Tiny Town.

READ PREVIOUS: Victoria’s temporary ‘Tiny Town’ shelter granted extension to September 30

Until then, roughly 12 young adults wait in uncertainty, unsure of where they’ll be resting their heads at the end of the month.

Then there’s the future of Tiny Town itself. Though designed to be temporary, Our Place says the shipping container-style housing is filling a big gap in the housing continuum and could be moved to another community.

“I see it as a big success for everybody that’s been in here,” said McKenzie. “In fact after the first four months, we had to retake people’s photos because they’d changed so much from getting a good night’s sleep.”

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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