The former Boys and Girls club at 1205 Yates St. will reopen as transitional housing for 40 residents on Wednesday (Nov. 29). (Lauren Boothby/VICTORIA NEWS)

Victoria’s Our Place to open new transitional housing on Wednesday

Residents will have work responsbilities at the dry facility, which will be open across the street from Central Middle School until April 30

When the doors of the former Boys and Girls Club reopen as a temporary housing facility this Wednesday (Nov. 29), the reception will be a little warmer.

Earlier this month, Victoria city council unanimously granted the application to lease the property at 1240 Yates St. to Our Place to operate My Place Transitional Home, on behalf of BC Housing. On Wednesday, 40 tenants will move into the facility – who provides residents with meals, shower facilities, individual beds and a place to store their things. They will reside there until April 30.

“This is a real stable community that’s moving in there,” said Grant McKenzie, Our Place director of communications. “It’s going to be a dry facility, no drug use, lights out at 9 0’clock.”

In the spring, McKenzie said, the objective is to move these people into more permanent housing. Because these residents are sober, he added they will make good candidates for places like Mount Edwards Court, operated by the Cool Aid Society on Vancouver Street.

“These people are the working poor,” McKenzie pointed out. “People who have just fallen through the cracks and fallen on hard times and are looking to get their lives back.”

RELATED: Former shelter at Boys and Girls club to reopen

Coun. Charlayne Thornton Joe, who is council’s liaison to the Fernwood neighbourhood, noted the community’s receptivity to the project seems noticeably different this year. She said that while the security and staffing are the same, the way My Place operates will be different.

“We have addressed some of the concerns we heard in the past, and the model has changed,” she said.

Previous residents came from tent city or from the streets, but this year, the people receiving housing have been staying at First Metropolitan Church where they have been vetted and assessed. Along with a spot at My Place will come responsibilities for the tenants, including monitoring and upkeep of the grounds, which McKenzie said makes a difference.

“The school has said they found it much nicer when we were there because we take care of things,” he said. “It’s much more comfortable and stable than a shelter.”

Central Middle School principal Christoper McIntosh said the school is “quite comfortable” with the new arrangement. Despite initial misgivings when the shelter opened last year, he staff, parents and students the school became accustomed to the neighbours after a time.

“A couple of our Grade 8 classes had interactions [with previous residents] through events they put on for them, and they shared a couple of meals with them,” he said, noting those gatherings were in a controlled environment. “I would say it was very successful, and the reality is that our kids learned a lot.”

– With files from Lauren Boothby

Our Placetransitional housing

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

File
Joanne Smith has been visiting Goldstream Provincial Park since she moved to Langford two years ago. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Visitors flock to Goldstream Provincial Park for 2020 salmon run

‘I wanted to come here before I move back to Australia,’ says visitor

Saanich Police are investigating a broken window at the Greater Victoria School District office. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Saanich police suspect slingshot used to break window at SD61 office

Police find bearing, or pellet below broken window at school board

Emily Harris (centre) started the in-person Monarch Moms meet-up groups in July, when it was much easier to physical distance in outdoor spaces. Harris started the group as a source of connection for women navigating the ups and downs of having a baby during a pandemic. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Victoria new mom group navigates challenges of motherhood in a pandemic

Monarch Moms meet once a week for physically-distanced connection

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
FILE – A voting package for the 2018 electoral reform referendum. Vote-by-mail packages for the 2020 provincial election will look similar, according to information provided by Elections BC. (Katya Slepian - Black Press Media)
POLL: Have you voted yet?

As election day quickly approaches, hundreds of thousands of British Columbians have… Continue reading

Jordan Naterer, an electrical engineer from Vancouver, was last seen Saturday Oct. 10. (Facebook photo)
Search efforts to resume for missing Manning Park hiker; Trudeau speaks on case

PM says he’ll do what he can to ‘nudge’ efforts to find Jordan Naterer, yet has little leverage locally

Smartphone showing various applications to social media services and Google. (Pixabay photo)
National media calling for level playing field with Google, Facebook

In Canada, Google and Facebook control 80 per cent of all online advertising revenues

École de L’Anse-au-sable. (Google Maps)
B.C. records first COVID-19 outbreak at school, six weeks after students return to class

Three cases of the virus have been identified at École de L’Anse-au-sable

Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau is seen as she leaves media event during a campaign stop in West Vancouver, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green leader hopes voters see value in minority government

The Greens received nearly 17 per cent of the popular vote in 2017 yet received just three seats

Local candidates Pam Alexis, Abbotsford-Mission, and Preet Rai, Abbotsford-West, look on as NDP Leader John Horgan main streets in Abbotsford, B.C., Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. NDP takes snap election risk during pandemic in quest for majority government

Green Leader Sonia Furstenau said the election was unnecessary and irresponsible during the pandemic

Most Read