From the street, a new residential building in the Humboldt Valley could pass for any other new condominium in Victoria. Modern wood finishing, attractive outdoor courtyard and rooftop patio, and units with large windows greet passersby.
Once inside the door, however, a few notable features distinguish it as a housing project for low-income singles and couples at risk of being homeless.
A reception desk offers staffing support 24/7 is one.
What the staff affectionately call “the bug sauna” is another.
When tenants arrive with furniture, they first park it in the bare room, which heats to a temperature to kill off any bed bugs. It’s the only bed-bug facility of its kind on Vancouver Island, according to Pacific Housing Advisory Association, the building’s operator.
The project at 950 Humboldt St., and newly dubbed Camas Gardens, opened its doors last week after 18 months of construction. The $9.9 million project, paid for by the province, boasts a large kitchen-dining room for community meals and a common room with fireplace and TV. The four-storey building has 44 units, with some reserved for couples and some for people with disabilities.
The goal is to help people move from temporary shelter to more secure housing and appropriate employment.