West Shore Cpl. Bryson Hill and View Royal bylaw officer/volunteer firefighter Enzo Calla pull clothing and shoes out of the back of a minivan.
More than 60 items, including pressed shirts, suit jackets neatly arranged on hangers and more than 20 pairs of boxed shoes, are being delivered to the Choices Transitional Home in View Royal. This isn’t just a clothing drive, Hill said, the clothing represents opportunity.
“People here are struggling through a transitional point in their life, or just trying to get back on their feet. They want a job, they want an opportunity to do well in life, get a house, get all the things I think we all strive to do,” Hill said. “I think we recognize as they try to take this transitional step, a lot of them don’t have the attire that most of us would go to a job interview with.”
The clothing, donated by members of the West Shore RCMP and the View Royal Fire Department, was facilitated in part by hearing from the various homeless shelters around town on what the homeless need to transition off the street.
Choices, the former youth corrections centre now operated by Our Place, is in part an alternative to Tent City downtown and houses approximately 50 residents. Twenty-six live in individual rooms, while the rest are in tents in the courtyard.
Details are also being worked out on offers of free haircuts for those actively looking for a job.
Our Place spokesperson Grant McKenzie said this program helps reduce barriers, giving residents the ability to succeed when they don’t have a permanent address, a resume or job references.
“When your whole life is based around survival, you don’t have those skill sets, (or) that personal belief in yourself to go for that job interview,” he said. “Part of self-confidence comes from dressing for the part. It’s having a good suit on and a resume you are proud of – and then you can go in and present the best foot forward.”