From an uninviting gravel pit to a place of healing, Our Place’s Therapeutic Recovery Community has transformed, thanks to the help of community and hundreds of volunteers.
HeroWork, a charity that renovates other charities, teamed up with Our Place Society to radically renovate what was once a youth detention facility into a space for men — who have struggled with trauma, addiction, incarceration and homelessness — to heal.
The organization’s crew of 500 volunteers and 120 businesses completely transformed the Therapeutic Recovery Community’s main living quarters which includes eight living areas and 24 sleeping suites that will house up to 48 men. HeroWork also doubled the size of the dining room space, added an arts and crafts room, created an outside food production area and added a longhouse-style pavilion at the facility’s entry.
A healing garden featuring beautiful pathways, many different plants and a water feature was also revealed. The garden came about thanks to a local philanthropist and a sign reading “Jaymac Garden” is placed at its entrance to honour him.
On Saturday, members of the public and volunteers were able to tour the facility and see just how much it has changed.
“It’s amazing. It’s changing the whole feel of the organization,” said Don Evans, Our Place chief executive. “It just provides a healing environment for the men that are dealing with substance use, homelessness and incarceration and are just trying to change their lives.”
The Therapeutic Recovery Community in View Royal is a two-year, live-in rehabilitation centre aimed at breaking the cycle of addiction, homelessness and hopelessness for men in Victoria.
The facility is sober — meaning no drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, coffee and sugar — and the goal is to get the residents in a better point of health to think better and make clearer choices.
Since the building used to be a youth detention centre, the goal for Our Place was to de-institutionalize it.
“We have 13 residents and we lost a few because it was so much like an institution that they found it difficult to be here,” said Dana Young, director of the Therapeutic Recover Community. “It’s transformed into a healing facility and landscape.… I think it’s going to help people significantly to be able to stabilize and be immersed into the community.”
The facility will start to take in more residents this week, making the 13 men who already reside there models and leaders.
Tracie Clayton, the new executive director of HeroWork Victoria, said it has been a privilege to be part of the project.
“It takes a community to rebuild a community, and we’ve seen just that,” Clayton said.