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Victoria puts up $1.8M in funding for new ‘hub’ to help homeless

Homeless people's tents and belongings are shown in Harris Green neighbourhood in Victoria on Wednesday Oct. 11, 2023. The City of Victoria is providing $1.8 million in operating funding for a new facility opening in the coming months aimed at addressing the risks and impacts of homelessness. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dirk Meissner. DPi

The City of Victoria is providing $1.8 million in operating funding for a new facility opening in the coming months aimed at addressing the risks and impacts of homelessness.

It says in a statement that the 5,200-square-foot property will offer food, harm reduction and overdose prevention services, as well as supports including referrals for wound care and longer-term health issues.

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The new “access hub” will be owned and operated by SOLID, a local non-profit organization that already provides overdose prevention services at seven sites in Victoria, outreach to homeless encampments, and other related services.

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The city says it will fund the program for up to a year with money from the municipality’s financial stability reserve, which can be used in situations related to public safety and “emerging demands.”

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The city also provided a $300,000 grant to help buy the property which sits on the boundary of three neighbourhoods.

Mayor Marianne Alto says in the statement that giving people a pathway away from addiction and homelessness cannot wait.

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She says SOLID’s peer-based approach has shown it is highly effective in working with the street community, while maintaining positive relationships with neighbours and other organizations.

Jack Phillips, executive director of the group’s outreach society, says the facility is designed to be a welcoming space for people experiencing acute addiction or mental health issues who are underserved by existing services.

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“We’re focused on providing tailored supports to individuals based on their specific needs and abilities rather than a cookie-cutter approach that often leaves people behind,” he said.

 

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