Threshold Housing Society has just opened a fourth home for at-risk youth in Greater Victoria to help give them a brighter future.
“We call this house our unicorn house,” said Jasmine Campbell of the Threshold Housing Society. “All the contents came with it and we didn’t need to renovate, we didn’t need to purchase anything.”
The James Bay heritage home is a safe place and sanctuary for young people 15 to 21 who want to overcome substance abuse issues.
“We meet them at any stage of that journey, so some youth come in at the beginning of their journey, some they’re in the middle of the process and some they’re just looking to that next stage of independence,” explained Hollis Thorau, Threshold’s supportive recovery program manager.
The home, which is filled with natural light, has seven live-in beds and a respite bed, as well as a day program spot.
“They have somewhere safe where we have staff that can support them 24 hours a day, whether in crisis or they just need to talk,” Thorau said.
It feels like a home and there’s lots of room for socializing and group activities, which is key to building connection and community.
“It’s providing a space that’s big enough to have communal dinners and group activities together,” said Campbell. “Especially after the year we’ve had, providing connection and community is so important.”
As the overdose epidemic continues and youth homelessness continues to grow, programs like this are more important than ever.
“It’s a huge crisis in our city right now and it’s really overlooked, especially in certain populations like our indigenous population,” said Thorau. “Programs like this are so essential.”
“We have an indigenous cultural wellness worker as part of our team to really help re-connect youth who identify as indigenous back to their culture,” Campbell added.
It’s life-changing work and Threshold Housing Society says they couldn’t do it without community support.
“The people who support us should also take ownership of this home,” Campbell said. “It truly belongs to them as much as us because we couldn’t have done it without them.”
“It really does change their life trajectory,” said Campbell. “It helps provide a brighter future.”