More affordable interim housing coming for people in Victoria


June 2, 2020

VICTORIA – The Province has purchased Paul’s Motor Inn, located at 1900 Douglas St., to provide more temporary accommodations for people experiencing homelessness in Victoria.

“The purchase of this site will help support vulnerable people in the community and provide a safe place for those who don’t have a home,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “Not only will this building deliver immediate relief and support to vulnerable people affected by the COVID-19 crisis, the site also offers permanent housing potential to help tackle the housing crisis and meet the needs of people in Victoria.”

Over the long term, BC Housing plans to redevelop the site into a range of affordable housing, the details of which will be determined through engagement with the community. In the meantime, the building will provide approximately 75 temporary homes with wraparound supports for vulnerable people experiencing homelessness in Greater Victoria.

In April 2020, the City of Victoria leased 35 rooms at the hotel, which are being used as temporary housing for vulnerable people to maintain physical distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. By purchasing the entire hotel, the Province can maintain these rooms and provide an additional 40 rooms for people as work continues with the City of Victoria and partners on long-term permanent housing solutions.

“Purchasing this property allows us the opportunity to provide our most vulnerable people with sustainable places to stay and feel safe,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “This location holds a great deal of potential to create a community, complete with health, mental health, addictions and social supports for people who need them most.” 

In the coming weeks, once an experienced operator has been selected, BC Housing will begin transitioning people into the building. Residents will be selected through BC Housing’s co-ordinated access and assessment process. People will have access to services such as meals, health care, addictions treatment and harm reduction, storage for personal belongings and other supports. The site will feature 24/7 staffing to provide security to residents of the building and the surrounding neighbourhood.

“The Province continues to be a strong partner as we work together to provide safety and security to our vulnerable populations in Victoria,” said Lisa Helps, mayor, City of Victoria. “This second motel purchase demonstrates the Province’s commitment to making long-term investments and to ensure that no one who has been housed during the pandemic ends up back on the street.”

As it does with most of its supportive housing projects, BC Housing will set up a new community advisory committee that will oversee the supportive housing’s integration within the community and will address any concerns raised by people in the neighbourhood.

The latest acquisition is part of the Province’s work to transition people from homelessness to stable housing and its commitment to continue supporting people after the COVID-19 pandemic. In Victoria, BC Housing and its partners are also operating the temporary Emergency Response Centre at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre and the temporary housing at the newly purchased Comfort Inn, as well as various temporary housing options in hotels and shelter facilities, to serve vulnerable people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

From April 25 to May 20, 2020, 344 people were moved from encampments on Pandora Avenue and in Topaz Park into safe, temporary accommodations with supports. These moves were part of an order under the Emergency Protection Act to ensure their health and safety during the overlapping COVID-19 and overdose crises.


Quick Facts:

  •  The B.C. government provided approximately $15 million to purchase the building. 
  • The Province is working in partnership to build approximately 3,330 new affordable homes for people with a range of incomes in the Capital Regional District:
    • housing for people with middle incomes: 121 homes
    • housing for people with low to moderate incomes, including families, seniors and Indigenous people: 1,925 homes
    • housing for women and children leaving violence: 39 homes
    • housing for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness: 431 homes
    • housing for students: 782 beds at the University of Victoria

Learn More:

For an overview of BC Housing’s work to monitor and respond to COVID-19, visit: https://www.bchousing.org/COVID-19

For more information and latest medical updates on COVID-19, follow the BC Centre for Disease Control on Twitter @CDCofBC or visit its website: http://www.bccdc.ca/

For more information on non-medical issues, like travel recommendations and how to manage social isolation, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/COVID-19 

Or call 1 888 COVID19 (1 888 268-4319) between 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. (Pacific time), seven days a week.

Contacts:

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing Media Relations
778 584-1255

BC Housing
media@bchousing.org