What started out as a group of people dedicated to finding homes for the homeless, has morphed into something more.
The Threshold Housing Society was founded in March of 1990 by members of Victoria’s Christ Church Cathedral, who wanted to help find homes for people living on the streets of Greater Victoria.
But over time, the organization began to shift its focus and now dedicates itself to finding homes for young people, often between the ages of 16 and 24.
Colin Tessier, the organization’s executive director, said Threshold Housing Society strives to create brighter futures for young people who are coming from traumatic or harmful situations.
“We do that by providing safe housing and support through the lens of prevention. We see the work that we do not only helping the young person today but having a life-long impact on the trajectory of their lives,” said Tessier.
Threshold Housing Society has numerous homes throughout the community.
“A beautiful thing about Threshold is that we have a number of houses throughout the community, and they’re unassuming. You wouldn’t necessarily know they were there,” Tessier said.
Lindsay Mitchell, a residential supervisor at one of Threshold’s homes, said being able to offer youth with support and mentorship, particularly during the pandemic, is vital.
“There are so many support services that aren’t open right now, that aren’t functioning. Like treatment centres, going to see your doctor, going to your support group, just getting out to see your friends,” says Mitchell. “So our little community here, I feel, has just been so important.”
Like so many other non-profits throughout the region, the Threshold Housing Society has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The need for youth housing remains, but the financial resources needed to hire extra staff and increase hours, just aren’t available.
Tessier explained that COVID-19 has also forced the society to spend more money on personal protective equipment.
“We’ve had to buy a whole bunch of personal protective equipment, disinfecting supplies, extra food, and of course our youth have been impacted financially themselves,” Tessier said. “COVID-19 has brought incredible uncertainty on a number of levels. But from a funding perspective, it certainly has not only increased costs and caused pain today financially, but the uncertainty of the future for organizations that rely on donations and giving, amongst the economic environment that’s to come, is a scary proposition.”
Fortunately, Threshold Housing Society recently received $50,000 from The Victoria Foundation’s Rapid Relief Fund, which Tessier said has been a huge help.