Delay in Victoria Housing Facility Launch Sparks Concern for Homeless Youth

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Despite completed construction, the launch of a supportive housing facility in Victoria, earmarked for 50 youngsters, has hit a snag. The delay has incited alarm among outreach advocates who argue that an extension may be necessary to prevent disruption for several future residents.

These individuals currently dwell in North Park’s Tiny Homes Village, an initiative born out of the pandemic to assist the unhoused.

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The stage is set for the village to shut its doors on September 30. However, the brand new BC Housing facility, where several of the occupants are slated to relocate, is not primed to welcome residents just yet.

Grant McKenzie from Our Place Society is optimistic that an extended stay will be approved by the city council. “We’re hoping for an additional month to ensure we’re not casting people out into the streets,” he stated.

On Meares Street, BC Housing has constructed and furnished 50 supportive homes in a permanent structure. This space is intended to offer support services for the marginalized and homeless between the ages 19 to 27.

According to Sara Goldvine, a spokesperson for BC Housing, the facility is on the brink of operation. “With youth-facing alarmingly high homelessness rates in the region, we are keen to transition them indoors and provide them with the necessary housing,” she said.

Beacon Community Services, contracted in the spring of 2022, had calculated it would commence operations in August. Unexpected holdups in finalizing the operating agreement with BC Housing have stalled this plan, says CEO Tricia Gueulette.

Presently, both parties remain tight-lipped over the content of their discourse, offering no inclination as to any communication breakdown between them.

Expressing anticipation for the upcoming operations, Gueulette stated, “We are fully ready to meet the neighbors and relocate individuals as soon as a functional, safe, and supportive operating agreement is in place for the residents, staff, and community.”

While the city has previously enlarged the permit for the Tiny Homes Village, Our Place Society, the property’s manager, harbors hopes that the council will repeat the gesture yet again.

Meanwhile, BC Housing is promising to do everything in its power to prevent the displacement of a dozen young individuals presently residing in the tiny homes due to this delay.

Goldvine acknowledges the hardships the youngsters have had to endure. “They’ve overcome significant hurdles in their lives, and for that, we really appreciate their patience,” she concluded.