Mark Muldoon, executive director for Threshold Youth Housing, is trying to get 10 units for higher risk youth included in a new Greater Victoria Housing Society project to be built on the property behind him off of Goldstream Avenue in Colwood. (Rick Stiebel/News Gazette staff)

Deadline looming for youth transitional housing

Province says funding for 10 units not available at this time

A tragedy of timing.

That’s how Mark Muldoon would describe Threshold Housing’s plans to build 10 units of housing for high-risk youth in collaboration with the Greater Victoria Housing Society, as a part of the society’s new $8 million project being built at 330 Goldstream Rd.

So far, Threshold has been unable to secure the funding needed to sign a lease with the housing society as the Oct. 31 deadline looms.

“Like every other housing development, it’s a matter of timing when all the funding can come together. We’re not pointing fingers, it would be an unfortunate failure not to get this thing off the ground because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Muldoon, Threshold’s executive director.

“This is a golden opportunity because as far as I know, there’s never been a purpose-built transitional housing situation in Victoria or the region and so we’re very happy that the Greater Victoria Housing Society has stepped up and offered this to us.”

RELATED: West Shore Youth housing opportunity could be lost due to funding complications

The society’s new facility, located behind the new Pacific Family Services Association’s building, will provide 104 rental units for low-income adults. If a lease is signed between the two organizations, Muldoon hopes the building will also include space for programs that get youth out of the cycle of homelessness.

However securing funding has been another issue.

Since Threshold is a non-profit, financing would be a stretch. Muldoon said he’s tried to meet with representatives from the Ministry of Children and Family Development to come up with a long-term agreement for roughly $700,000 to $1 million in funding annually, but has been unsuccessful.

The change in government has also made it challenging to make headway in contacting people, he said.

“It’s a long-term plan, we need long-term, multi-year guaranteed funding to carry it off,” he said. “We find the need for youth transitional housing to be very important because it only takes one or two degrees of intervention with a youth to change their lives completely, as opposed to someone who is chronically entrenched in homelessness.”

While the ministry acknowledged the pressing need for safe, stable housing for vulnerable youth, a spokesperson said it is unable to provide funding at this time.

“At this time, the ministry is not in a position to provide operational funding for the proposed youth housing project as it doesn’t fit the criteria for this type of funding which is targeted at higher risk youth,” said an emailed statement.

But Muldoon isn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet.

“We will keep trying to get into the West Shore eventually. We know we’ll do it because the need is very large here. It’s just a matter of time. If this not particular instance, there will be another,” he said. “We don’t give up easily.”


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