Victoria’s Our Place Society has received $125,000 to extend its summer hours.
Summer may be warm, but that doesn’t change the resources homeless people need, said Grant McKenzie, Our Place director of communications.
“What we’ve really noticed from the City and neighbours is seeing more people with no place to go in the summer,” he said.
“We know from the police that the streets are safer when our doors are open; it gives people a place to congregate.”
The one-time influx of cash from BC Housing, City of Victoria and Island Health will help Our Place extend its summer schedule to match its winter hours and see it open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. It was previously open only until 6 p.m. between April 1 and Oct. 31.
McKenzie said Our Place can stay open longer in winter because they get more donations, particularly during their coat campaign. The shorter summer hours have left a gap in service, as night shelters don’t open until 9:30 or 10 p.m., he said.
“People are gathering around Our Place because that’s where they feel safe because we have patrol guards. People are also concerned for their stuff, if they have a cart they can’t wheel it into a park and camp.”
B.C. Housing offered to make a one-time donation of $75,000 with the caveat that other partners also come forward to help cover the costs. Island Health pledged $25,000 and on Thursday the City of Victoria approved giving $25,000 from the contingency fund.
The City is also looking to meet with BC Housing and Island Health to find longer-term solutions.