New homes coming for vulnerable people in Victoria
VICTORIA − The Province has purchased the Comfort Inn Hotel, located at 3020 Blanshard St., to provide more affordable homes for people in Victoria.
“Everyone deserves to have safe, stable housing they can afford, and this site offers great potential to deliver a mix of permanent housing to meet the needs of people in Victoria,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “This will further add to the significant efforts underway with community and local government partners in the Capital Regional District to tackle the housing crisis and build the homes people need.”
The long-term use of the site will be determined through engagement with the community. In the short term, the building will provide approximately 65 rooms of temporary accommodations with wraparound supports for people currently living in encampments on the Pandora Avenue corridor and Topaz Park.
“Often people experiencing homelessness are not able to access the support and services they need,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “The purchase of the Comfort Inn, combined with medical and social supports, will help people make the transition from the street to permanent housing.”
BC Housing is partnering with Our Place to operate the building, which will start to receive people − referred by Island Health and BC Housing − in the coming days.
“This is a substantial investment in our community and will provide housing for those who need it most,” says Lisa Helps, mayor, City of Victoria. “This site has significant redevelopment potential to provide a range of affordable housing in the long term. I look forward to working with the community and with BC Housing to determine the long-term use of this site.”
People will have access to services, such as meals, health-care services, addictions treatment and harm reduction, storage for personal belongings and other supports, including 24/7 staffing to provide security to residents of the building and the surrounding neighbourhood.
“Our Place is looking forward to partnering with BC Housing in this bold initiative to provide indoor accommodations for our street family during this health crisis,” said Grant McKenzie, director of communications, Our Place Society. “We intend to serve this vulnerable population with dignity while striving to be a good neighbour to the community.”
BC Housing will set up a new community advisory committee that will include representatives from the Hillside Quadra and Burnside Gorge community associations and the surrounding community. This committee will oversee the supportive housing’s integration within the community and will address any concerns raised by people in the neighbourhood.
From April 25 to May 13, 2020, 208 people from encampments on Pandora Avenue and in Topaz Park have moved into safe, temporary accommodations with supports to protect their health and safety in the overlapping COVID-19 and overdose crises.
- The B.C. government provided approximately $18.5 million to acquire the building.
- The Province is working in partnership to build approximately 3,330 new affordable homes for people with a range of incomes in the Capital Regional District:
- Housing for people with middle incomes: 121 homes
- Housing for people with low to moderate incomes, including families, seniors and Indigenous peoples: 1,924 homes
- Housing for women and children leaving violence: 39 homes
- Housing for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness: 431 homes
- Housing for students: 782 beds at the University of Victoria
For an overview of BC Housing’s work to monitor and respond to COVID-19, visit: https://www.bchousing.org/COVID-19
For more information and latest medical updates on COVID-19, follow the BCCDC on Twitter @CDCofBC or visit its website: http://www.bccdc.ca/
For more information on non-medical issues like travel recommendations and how to manage social isolation, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/COVID-19
Or call 1 888 COVID19 (1 888 268-4319) between 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. (Pacific time), seven days a week.
Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing