Island Health opens more housing for people recovering from mental health and substance abuse challenges

A new 34-unit condo complex located at 521 Comerford St. in Esquimalt will replace Empress Bay Apartments in Victoria

  • May. 29, 2015 4:00 p.m.

South Island residents recovering from mental health and substance use issues will soon move into new, more appropriate housing units, Island Health announced.

A new 34-unit condo complex located at 521 Comerford St. in Esquimalt will replace Empress Bay Apartments in Victoria, which no longer adequately meets the needs of its residents who not only are recovering from mental health and substance use challenges, but are also living with mobility and other challenges associated with aging.

“The road to recovery for those with mental health or substance use concerns can be challenging and full of turns, but by providing help with housing and a supportive, caring community, we’re smoothing out the way,” said Health Minister Terry Lake.

“Today’s announcement aligns strongly with government’s priority of building primary and community care supports to better serve individuals living with mental illness or substance use concerns. It’s up to all of us working together to help people with these challenges back on the right track.”

Empress Bay is a 21-unit supported housing facility, so the Comerford Street program will be larger and accommodate more clients.

As is the case with Empress Bay, the Comerford Street facility will be staffed 24/7 and serve clients with concurrent mental health and substance use challenges.

“A person recovering from a mental illness or an addiction is someone’s son or daughter, someone’s husband or wife, someone’s mother or father – and everyone deserves compassionate community support as they recover,” said Dr. Richard Crow, Island Health’s executive medical director for mental health and substance use.

“This new building and the support services residents will receive will be an important resource and a wonderful service addition for those in recovery.”

Residents are expected to move into the new facility beginning mid-June.