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

Coun. Tara Ney rakes leaves behind Oak Bay municipal hall. Ney’s motion asking staff to do a report on alternative options to the ongoing use of gas-powered leaf blowers in Oak Bay. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Oak Bay a step closer to banning gas leaf blowers

Council leans toward a study on alternatives

Victoria police are warning the public of fraudsters impersonating Service Canada and VicPD in an attempt to have victims transfer money to bitcoins. (Unsplash photo)
Police issue warning after Victoria man scammed out of $6,000

Victim received calls from people impersonating Service Canada, VicPD

The Capital Regional District is considering adding another dollar a year to the parkland acquisition fund fee for homeowners. (Black Press Media file photo)
One dollar or two? Greater Victoria parks acquisition fee hike spurs debate

$2 a year too steep, CRD committee recommends $1 a year increase per household

Maureen Cue models maybe the most obvious pandemic Halloween costume this year. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Pandemic impacts trends in Halloween looks, says costume shop owner

Maureen Cue sees shift in costume rentals due to the pandemic

A study by SlotsOnlineCanada notes there is at least 88 hours of top-rated horror movies for Canadians to consume this Halloween. (Unsplash)
Spooks and Chill study reveals Canada’s favourite horror flicks

88 hours of top-rated horror movies can fill COVID-19 Halloween

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Wednesday October 28, 2020. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Conversion therapy ban gets approval in principle, exposes Conservative divisions

Erin O’Toole himself voted in favour of the bill, as did most Conservative MPs

President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Allentown, Pa. on Oct. 26. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
POLL: How closely are you following the U.S. presidential election?

It may feel like it’s been going on forever but the U.S.… Continue reading

CBSA. (Black Press Media File)
4 sentenced in B.C. steroid smuggling, distribution ring that spilled into U.S.

Canadian Border Services Agency announced the results of a lengthy investigation it called ‘Project Trajectory’

Search and Rescue Technicians carry a stretcher to the CH149 Cormorant during a 442 Squadron Search and Rescue Exercise in Tofino on February 28. (Photo by: Cpl Joey Beaudin, 19 Wing Imaging, Comox)
Father and son found dead after weeklong search near Pemberton

The father and son had set out for a day of mushroom picking last Thursday

A full moon rises over Mt. Cheam on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)
Rare full moon, Daylight Saving makes for a uniquely spooky Halloween – despite COVID-19

We can’t host costume parties but this weekend is still one for the history books

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

MNP senior economist Susan Mowbray presents the State of the Island Economic Report on Thursday night to conclude the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance’s virtual summit. (VIEA image)
Not-so-rosy State of the Island report caps off virtual summit

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance’s summit took place online Oct. 27-29

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

Most Read