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

Victoria gets new collegiate baseball team, training facility

Golden Tide coach wants to see as many local kids play for the HarbourCats as possible

‘It’s a boy’: Southern Resident killer whale calf born to J Pod is healthy, researchers say

J35 had previously done a ‘Tour of Grief,’ carrying her dead calf for 17 days

Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Greater Victoria

Thunderstorm may produce strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy rain, warns Environment Canada

Sooke couple that owned Sooke Harbour House given $4 million after lengthy court case

B.C. Supreme Court rules in favour of Frederique and Sinclair Philip

Local MP Elizabeth May likes aspects of throne speech, but questions execution

According to May nobody is as ‘reckless’ as BC’s John Horgan in dismissing snap election

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Liberal effort to reset policy agenda panned by rivals as too much talk, not action

Trudeau said it’s ‘all too likely’ families won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving next month

‘Show us the money’ for cannabis, local governments tell B.C.

Municipal tax, transit revenues falling as costs rise

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cops for Cancer: COVID-19 can’t stop Tour de Rock

‘having the chance to come back and ride this year means everything to me’

People ‘disgusted’ by COVID-19 election call, B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson speaks to municipal leaders from Victoria

Horgan blasts B.C. Greens for refusing youth overdose detention

Lack of support key to B.C. election call, NDP leader says

Most Read