North Park Tiny Home Village opens on the grounds of the Royal Athletic Park to 30 people without accommodation – Saanich News
Neighbors in North Park welcomed residents to the latest housing option for those who live in Victoria Parks as 10 to 15 residents moved into the city’s new Tiny Home Village on Friday (May 14).
The village, announced in January as a collaboration between BC Housing, the city and Our Place Society, will house a single resident in each of the 30 units in the Royal Athletic Park parking lot.
Rotation is expected over the 18 month duration of the village, as residents are assessed based on their level of need and support required. There are no plans to add any additional units, said Our Place Society communications director Grant McKenzie, who hopes to see it empty and everyone in permanent housing at this point.
The Tiny Home Village is a relief for homeless people in Greater Victoria, who increased 40% to 270 between 2016 and 2020 and experience some form of homelessness in 2020.
“I think for the neighborhood and for the city it’s really positive,” said Katie Fillion, a North Park resident. Last year, more than 100 private tents were set up near Central Park, she said. During the flood, several moved to the parking lot where the village is currently located.
“It was really tough,” said Fillion, who had made close connections with some of those who had moved to the Royal Athletic parking lot. “People were struggling. There was no hot water or showers. But the people really came together as a community.
Each resident of the Tiny Home Village will have a private bed, mini-fridge, wardrobe and chair, as well as access to a shared toilet and storage facilities, McKenzie said. He added that couples will be given their own units to provide a “safe space” in the event of a fall and that pets will be at the discretion of staff. Breakfast and dinner will be delivered daily, McKenzie said.
The 160 square foot storage containers – which can reach 15 degrees warmer inside than outside, according to the expertise of the Equipment World site – were each fitted with a window, a vent, a radiator for cold weather but no air conditioning. McKenzie said the rooftop gardens eventually installed will help cool the units while “beautifying” the village.
The aim is to give homeless people a chance to stabilize their lives.
“Having this right nutrition and a good night’s sleep, the transformation that you see in people is palpable,” McKenzie said. “All of a sudden you start to see people putting on weight – a healthy weight. It’s like a great stress and anxiety relief exhale. “
From there, residents can determine their next steps, whether it’s tackling mental health, tackling substance abuse, or entering the workforce. Ideally, they will become “perfect candidates” for permanent housing, which itself is “badly needed in Victoria,” McKenzie said.
Despite the mix of strong opinions highlighted in local media, Kay Gallivan, a resident of North Park, said the area had been “very, very positive” for the development of the village. While painting the wall painting of the walled community, “the residents were shouting messages of support at us, saying they thought it looked great and they were so happy that this initiative was coming to fruition,” she says.
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