David Eby - Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing released a statement on Jan 27 announcing that the Save on Foods Memorial Center will be used for temporary housing for the unhoused community beginning in March. The decision was made in conjunction with BC Housing and GSL group.
“Today's announcement is an important step that brings us a step closer to our goal that people experiencing homelessness in Victoria's encampments will be offered safe, dignified and comfortable emergency accommodation by the end of March,” said Eby.
The facility, which will be operated by the PHS community Services Society, will provide shelter and support for up to 45 people. The spaces available will be given to people based on priority and will include services such as access to meals, washroom facilities, health-care, addictions treatments and harm reduction.
The priority will be determined through assessment of applications submitted to BC housing in conjunction with referrals from Island Health and other community partners. Populations that are vulnerable to COVID-19 such as Indigenous persons, people over 55, people with preexisting health conditions and people experiencing long term homelessness will be prioritized.
The shelter was previous set up to house people last summer from May to September who were camping on Pandora and Topaz park. The initial period that the facility will be operating will be from March to the end of May and is pending extensions as the province works on a larger strategy to combat the housing crisis.