Seven residents live in the house built originally as a care home. The design includes individual rooms for privacy; a shared kitchen, dining, and living room encourage family life. The shared common room is named Coast Capital Common Room after its major funding partner that gave Threshold Housing Society $380,000.
“Our members believe by investing in youth we are investing in our future,” said Don Coulter, Coast Capital Savings President and CEO. “Through our credit union’s Youth Get It Community Investment Program we are creating a future where vulnerable young people in our community have a safe and secure home, and are making an investment to building a healthy community that benefits all of us.”
During the official ribbon cutting a trio of residents shared a little of their life stories so far, and how the home has changed their lives already, six weeks into their stay.
One young woman explained it’s already changed her life. She grew up in 20-plus foster homes from the time she was nine to 18 when she aged out of the system – a vulnerable demographic that Threshold targets. Similarly her housemate worried over the summer as applications were processed for the new housing units.
“Over the summer I didn’t know what I was going to do … I’m going to get into the house or I’m going to die,” she said. “I didn’t die.”
A third young woman shared a bit of herself, from addiction, having a baby and getting clean by the age of 14.
“It’s nice to have somebody who asks me how my day is … and actually cares,” said the young woman, clean for two years.
Threshold targets youth age 16 to 24 in need of safe, secure and supported housing while they go to school or gain experience in the workforce. Youth are offered up to two years of transitional housing and programs.
“To paraphrase Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, the opening of Threshold is one small step in dealing with youth homelessness in Greater Victoria but one giant leap for Threshold Housing Society. That giant leap could not have happened without the generous support financially and otherwise of so many individuals groups and corporations,” said Dennis Anholt, chair of the society board.
Threshold Housing operates three other facilities, Holly House, Mitchell House and Forrest House, which lies just beyond Oak Bay’s borders. They have a long-term lease with the Oak Bay United Church for what’s now called Threshold House.
“This facility would not be possible without partnerships,” said Mark Muldoon, executive director of The Threshold Housing Society.
“Coast Capital Savings’ community vision is absolutely admirable. Housing vulnerable youth today goes a long way to preventing adult homelessness tomorrow. Knowing we have this support from Coast Capital Savings for the next five years is key to moving forward with our vision for this house.”
The official ribbon cutting ceremony last week started with a traditional First Nations blanket ceremony and welcome and wound down with housewarming gifts for residents from Coast Capital.
Visit www.thresholdhousing.ca to learn more about the society.