More housing coming for people in Victoria


April 28, 2021

VICTORIA – The Province, through BC Housing, has purchased the Capital City Center Hotel, which will provide nearly 100 temporary supportive homes for people experiencing homelessness in Victoria.

There are plans to redevelop the site into affordable rental housing over the long term. "The purchase of this hotel creates stable housing options now and opportunities for rental housing in the future that will serve people in Victoria for decades," said David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing. "Because this hotel is now in public ownership, the almost 100 people who are safely housed with supports now can breathe a sigh of relief - they won't have to move at the end of the lease. Even better is the news that this site will be the location for even more affordable rental housing in the future."

The hotel is located at 1961 Douglas St. Since April 2020, BC Housing has been leasing 83 of its rooms for use as temporary housing for vulnerable people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With this purchase, BC Housing will convert 94 of the of the hotel's 96 rooms into temporary supportive housing units. Current residents will remain in the building. The vacant units will be filled through BC Housing's Coordinated Access and Assessment process, including people living outdoors at Beacon Hill Park. The remaining two units will be used for administrative purposes.

Our Place Society, an experienced non-profit operator, has been operating the building since October 2020 and will continue to manage the building as supportive housing. The society will provide residents with wraparound supports, including meal programs, life skills training and health and wellness support services. The site will feature 24/7 staffing to provide security to residents of the building and the surrounding neighbourhood.

Included in the purchase is the adjacent parking lot at 722 and 726 Discovery St. Over the long term, BC Housing plans to redevelop both the hotel and parking lot to create additional rental housing in the community. BC Housing will engage the community when it is ready to redevelop the two sites.

A community advisory committee will oversee the supportive housing's integration within the community and will address any questions raised by people in the neighbourhood. BC Housing will reach out to neighbourhood associations, local businesses and other stakeholders about the project.

This purchase is part of the commitment between the Province and City of Victoria to move the more than 220 people living in encampments indoors. Since January 2021, the Province, City of Victoria and outreach workers have partnered to move 117 people experiencing homelessness throughout Victoria into supportive housing units and shelter spaces, including the Save-On- Foods Memorial Centre.

Quotes:

Lisa Helps, mayor, City of Victoria -

"The impacts of this pandemic have exposed cracks in our social safety net. Nowhere has this been more visible than in the individuals at risk of or experiencing homelessness. We're grateful that the Province continues to make extensive investments in our community. This land acquisition helps people in need now, but it is also a prime site for redevelopment for purpose-built rental housing in the longer term."

Grace Lore, MLA for Victoria-Beacon Hill -

"These 94 new homes with supports mean vulnerable people in Victoria will have a safe and secure place to stay with the supports in place they need now. We continue to work to build affordable rental housing for people with incomes across the spectrum in our community.

Homelessness and housing insecurity affect individuals, families and our whole community. This is an important step in investing in the housing and supports we need."

Julian Daly, CEO, Our Place Society -

"I congratulate BC Housing for yet again stepping up to purchase and bring more supportive housing to the Greater Victoria region, something that has been chronically lacking for years. We know this investment will pay dividends when it comes to giving some of our most vulnerable citizens a place of hope and belonging: a home."

Quick Facts:

  • The Province is investing approximately $25 million to purchase the hotel and adjacent lot.
  • An independent appraisal of the sites was completed on Jan. 15, 2021. The appraisal took into account the existing market value of each of the sites, as well as the potential redevelopment value. The combined land was valued at $23,520,000 for these two parcels. The Province paid $24,500,000 for the properties, plus taxes and closing fees.
  • In addition, the Province has recently announced more than 280 new spaces in the Capital Regional District (CRD), including more than 190 supportive housing units in Victoria.
  • Including these supportive homes, the Province has more than 3,000 affordable homes either completed or underway in the CRD, including more than 900 underway in Victoria.

Learn More:

A map showing the location of all announced provincially funded housing projects in B.C. is available online: https://www.bchousing.org/homes-for-BC

To learn about the steps the Province is taking to tackle the housing crisis and deliver affordable homes for British Columbians, visit: https://workingforyou.gov.bc.ca/

To learn more about the Capital City Center Hotel project, visit: letstalkhousingbc.ca/victoria-1961-douglas

To learn more about the new supportive homes underway in Victoria, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021AG0037-000530

To learn more about the commitment between the Province and City of Victoria to end encampments, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021AG0022-000521

Contacts:

Ministry of Attorney General and Responsible for Housing
Media Relations
778 678-1572

BC Housing
Media Relations
media@bchousing.org