The federal government, alongside the B.C. Government and the Capital Regional District announced details of new developments in the CRD, which will create up to 91 supportive housing units in Greater Victoria.
The $13.1 million initiative will see the Capital Regional District work in partnership with the Province — through BC Housing — to deliver up to 91 new homes with 24/7 wraparound supports for people experiencing and at risk of homelessness.
Approximately 52 supportive homes will be built at 2933, 2941 and 2949 Albina St. in Saanich, with construction slated to begin in the summer of 2021.
The other location will be at 1909 Prosser Rd. in Central Saanich, where approximately 39 units will be developed. Construction at this location is expected to begin this spring.
At each address, experienced non-profit housing providers will be selected to operate the housing development and services.
In addition to the housing projects revealed by the federal government, the Province also revealed on Wednesday it is moving forward with four more new supportive housing projects that will deliver up to 192 permanent homes with 24/7 support for people experiencing homelessness as well.
The four permanent supportive housing projects will be built at the following properties in the city, which have been bought by the Province through BC Housing:
- 865 Catherine St., 45 homes: construction is expected to start in summer 2021.
- 959 and 953 Balmoral Rd., 60 homes: construction is expected to start in winter 2021.
- 1053 and 1075 Meares St., 50 homes: construction is expected to start in summer 2021.
- 1176 Yates St., 37 homes: construction is expected to start in summer 2021.
These six projects will deliver more than 280 permanent supportive homes for people experiencing homelessness in the capital region.
During today’s announcement, it was outlined that the B.C. government would support the new housing with annual operating funding over 20 years.
“To address homelessness we’ll need to work with cities across the CRD. That’s why it’s so positive we see governments coming together to make sure people experiencing homelessness have access to homes with essential supports in Saanich and Central Saanich. These are the kind of partnerships we need to make real progress for the most vulnerable across the province,” said David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing.
Delivered by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the Rapid Housing Iniative — which will fund the projects — provides capital contributions to develop new, permanent and affordable homes in communities across the country. This government funding will cover costs associated with modular multi-unit rental construction, the conversion of non-residential to affordable multi-residential, and the rehabilitation of buildings that are abandoned or in disrepair to affordable multi-residential buildings.
“There is a critical need for more opportunities for those living unhoused and requiring support services to begin to be connected to long-term housing options. Today’s announcement is another important step in taking a collaborative approach and working together to build a vibrant region consisting of safe, healthy and inclusive communities for everyone,” said Colin Plant, Chair of the Capital Regional District.
The announcement comes the same week that the provincial government and the City of Victoria finalized a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to end encampments in Greater Victoria parks. The MOU formalizes each side’s responsibilities for an April 30 deadline to end 24/7 sheltering in local parks, meaning that those camping overnight will have to pack up and move on between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
While these six new permanent housing locations, announced today, still need to be developed, the B.C. government says it has created 224 spaces at various sites around the city in the short-term. This includes temporary shelters at the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre and 70 new spaces at two undisclosed locations opening next month. That, combined with 50 rent supplements, should be enough to accommodate approximately 200 people who have been sheltering in local parks by April 30, Eby told CHEK News earlier this week.
To get these permanent homes built as soon as possible, BC Housing will be moving straight to the construction phase with these projects, working closely with municipalities throughout the process.