Province spends $9.4 million on building to house more homeless persons in Victoria

·2 min read
The building at 225 Russell St., is located just a block away from the Songhees Trail in Vic West and will offer 70 shelter spaces. (google maps - image credit)
The building at 225 Russell St., is located just a block away from the Songhees Trail in Vic West and will offer 70 shelter spaces. (google maps - image credit)

BC housing has purchased another building in Victoria to help provide temporary shelter space for people experiencing homelessness in the capital city.

The new property is located at 225 Russell St., just a block away from the Songhees Trail in Vic West and will offer 70 shelter spaces.

It's the latest in a series of purchases by the province to help house homeless people in Victoria over the last year.

In May and June of last year, the province purchased a motel and a hotel to help house homeless persons in the capital city.

The provincial government and the city have committed to finding temporary housing by April 30 for more than 200 people currently living in outdoor encampments. To date, 116 people have been moved indoors into shelter spaces in the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre and the Capital City Centre Hotel.

The province invested $9.4 million to purchase the building at 225 Russell St. and is in the process of renovating it for its new use. The annual operating costs are pegged at around $2 million.

Our Place Society, a non-profit organization, will be operating the building and providing support services, including daily meals, access to sanitary and hygiene facilities and space for people to store their belongings.

In a news release the province said the new facility will remain open as a temporary shelter for 18 months, with a potential extension of another six months, after which B.C. Housing will engage the community on future options.

In addition to the purchase in Victoria, B.C. and the federal government have also announced $205.6 million for 700 affordable housing units across the province for people in precarious housing situations and for those who are homeless or close to becoming homeless.