Shopping carts, suitcases and bikes covered in tarps, plastic and sleeping bags have dominated the courtyard just outside of Our Place Society recently. Leaving all your possessions outside a shelter can be a big deterrent for people who need the services but also want to protect their items.
Thanks to funding from the City of Victoria, Our Place will be opening a large storage space in the courtyard at 919 Pandora St. on Feb. 13. The space is able to accommodate rolling suitcases, up to eight shopping carts and is equipped with 80 large plastic totes that hold up to 50 pounds.
“This space has been desperately needed for a long time,” said Don Evans, CEO of Our Place, in a press release. “Without access to storage, some people are choosing not to go into shelters due to fear of their belongings being lost or stolen.”
Evans hopes the opening of this storage space will reduce the number of carts on the street, alleviate pressure on the police, bylaw and city work crews while also giving vulnerable people access to the shelter without having to worry about their belongings.
Canadian Tire donated 100 large, waterproof and secure plastic totes to help store people’s possessions. The storage unit will be open from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. this winter, with afternoon hours beginning in the spring. Users can leave their belongings in the storage facility for multiple days but must check in on their belongings daily either by phone or in person.
“This storage space will enable people to go to job interviews, medical appointments and so much more,” said Evans.
While Our Place already has day use lockers, this new storage space allots more room for personal belongings to be left indefinitely as long as they are checking in daily.