A therapeutic community for men who have recently dealt with incarceration, homelessness and addiction has opened at a former youth detention centre in View Royal.
The town council approved rezoning for the facility, located at 94 Talcott Road, back in June. The facility had been used by the non-profit Our Place Society for a couple of years for low-barrier transitional housing and was called Choices. The transitional housing closed back in March.
The new therapeutic community will be run by Our Place Society, Forty to 50 participants will live on site for up to 24 months and will have access to various recovery programming, including counselling and integration of Indigenous and non-Indigenous healing approaches.
“Five years ago, Our Place had a vision of bringing a therapeutic recovery community to the Island. We didn’t know what it would look like, or how we would fund it, or even if it was something the province would embrace. All we knew is that it was desperately needed. Today, our staff, board, volunteers and supporters are so thrilled to be opening this innovative program that will not only transform individual lives, but our whole community,” Don Evans, executive director of Our Place Society, said.
Participants will also have the opportunity to develop skills in construction, woodworking, cooking and other areas.
All supports and services will be provided through a clinical team, which includes a physician, a psychiatrist, nurses and clinical counsellors.
The B.C. Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions provided $4.7 million in funding for the recovery-based program, while BC Housing provided a $310,000 grant for renovations, a $1/year lease and will cover property taxes for three years. In addition, Island Health is earmarking $300,000 in annual operating funds to support clinical services.
The Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions will be working with Our Place to look at the effectiveness of the project and whether it can be adapted across the province.
“This new therapeutic recovery community represents a much-needed facility in our region. Homelessness is top of mind for many and we must start dealing with the root causes of homelessness. This community represents a real step forward in that area, and our council was pleased to support this being here in View Royal,” View Royal Mayor David Screech said.
According to the province, The San Patrignano Therapeutic Community in Italy was the model for Our Place Society’s therapeutic recovery community. The Italian community reports a 72 per cent full-recovery rate for residents who complete the program.