The Government of Canada and the Government of British Columbia combined funded this project of nearly $24 million.
Homelessness in Canada is a big issue, effectively impacting the country's future. According to the Homeless Hub, between 150,000 and 300,000 people are estimated to experience homelessness in the country each year. Unfortunately, despite being a problem that influences the country's biggest resource, the younger generation, there was never a concrete effort by authorities to find a proper solution to this. But Victoria, the capital city of British Columbia, has brought changes and a ray of hope to people who grapple with this issue. The city recently witnessed the opening of a six-story and 48-unit housing facility to act as a shelter for the homeless young adults to deal with this crisis, as per Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
The first entrants to this facility, which will be operated by Beacon Community Services, will be 12 individuals who are staying in Tiny Town on Caledonia Avenue currently. The present facility is located at 1075 Meares Street and has self-contained studio homes for residents. Also, it has amenities like a commercial kitchen, tenant support offices, a dining and lounge area and laundry.
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The housing will welcome individuals from 19 to 27 years of age, as per the official website of British Columbia government. It will provide the residents with two meals per day, laundry, as well as, health and wellness services. The project is formulated mainly keeping young adults in mind, aiming to help them get their lives in order. The organization will connect the residents with educational and employment opportunities, during their stay. Residents will always have assistants in the facility to provide them with any kind of aid.
"We believe this purpose-built property and the support model are an innovative opportunity to provide safe and stable housing for young adults at risk of homelessness in Victoria," said Tricia Gueulette, CEO of Beacon Community Services. "We are offering not just shelter, but the support required to thrive as they move forward on their journey to independent living."
"With the opening of this new building, we're providing young people in Victoria with the support and opportunity they need to achieve their potential," said Ravi Kahlon, British Columbia's minister of housing. "We're proud to work with partners to give people of all ages the tools to support themselves and we'll continue to do so to ensure people in need have a safe and secure place to call home."
The housing has been created with collaboration between the Government of Canada, the Province of British Columbia and the Capital Regional District. Their aim is to create six such supportive sites where 280 homes are present to provide shelter to homeless youth.
The Federal Government invested $2.5 million in the project, while the Province of British Columbia put in $21.2 million. "In our commitment to addressing the unique needs of young adults in Victoria, we understand the importance of collaborating with organizations who understand the community," said Sean Fraser, federal minister of housing, infrastructure and communities.
The project took some time to come to fruition. The housing project operating on Caledonia Avenue was supposed to shut down in September, by which time the Victoria project should have been up and running. But that was not the case. The delay put the fate of the 12 residents in Caledonia Avenue in question, but fortunately, the license was extended by a month. The Victoria housing facility is now completely ready to welcome these residents, who will soon begin moving.
#NewsRelease: Vulnerable young adults experiencing or at risk of homelessness are moving into 48 new safe and secure homes with supports.— BC Housing (@BC_Housing) October 24, 2023
Thank you to our partner, Beacon Community Services, for coming #Together4Housing
Learn more: https://t.co/T9BBYKMUUG#Victoria pic.twitter.com/8Jqjj3NWfE
"This housing represents a significant, tangible response to the urgent issue of homelessness among young adults in Victoria," Marianne Alto, the mayor of Victoria, said and added, "These 48 homes, with 24/7 support services, are critically needed in our community. We are grateful for the investment from the Province as we work together to provide shelter, support and hope for those who need it most."