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)

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

New figures show Canadian housing prices outpacing those in other developed countries. (Black Press Media file photo)
Canadian housing prices fastest rising in the world

Relative to 2000, housing prices have risen by a factor of more than 2.5

According to Statistics Canada, the unemployment rate in Greater Victoria rose to 5.7 per cent in March 2021, an increase of 0.8 per cent compared to February 2021. But the local unemployment rate remains the among the lowest in Canada. (Black Press Media File)
Greater Victoria’s unemployment rate rises to 5.7 per cent

The increase marks a reversal from recent months, but local economy among the strongest in Canada

Former Oak Bay High Grade 12 student Brandon Kip plays the $100,000 Steinway piano in the Dave Dunnet Theatre. (Black Press Media file photo)
Oak Bay High Alumni Association passes torch to new president

The association has given back more than $70,000 in its 16 years

Saanich police officers were one group of dozens that submitted dance clips to the Greater Victoria Festival Society, to help create the Dance Across Victoria video montage. (Youtube/Screenshot)
WATCH: Saanich police, Victoria mayor bust some moves in new Dance Across Victoria video

Montage features submitted dance clips from across Greater Victoria

Saanich’s Malia Brodie competed in the Vancouver qualifiers for the 2020 National Championships. (Photo by BC Sport Karate Snaps)
PHOTOS: Saanich teen awarded $1,800 Karate Canada bursary to pursue officiant certification

Malia Brodie, 18, has black belt, nearly 15 years experience in karate

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

Pat Kauwell, a semi-retired construction manager, lives in his fifth-wheel trailer on Maxey Road because that’s what he can afford on his pension, but a Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw prohibits using RVs as permanent dwellings, leaving Kauwell and others like him with few affordable housing options. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Rules against RV living hard on Island residents caught in housing crunch

Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw forcing pensioner to move RV he calls home off private farm land

(Black Press file photo).
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Most Read