VICTORIA -- Homeless youth and young adults in Victoria have set up a homeless camp in the city’s Stadacona Park, across the street from the Beacon Community Services building, which provides services to youth in need. 

With the COVID-19 pandemic shining a light on the city’s homeless problem, the youth staying in the park say they’re trying to get away from the problems that come with larger encampments.

“We’ve been discreetly told that this is a safe haven for them,” said Chase, a man who is in the park visiting his friends who live there. “They can come here, be safe and get away from other people.”

He said there are a lot of people that take advantage of youth on the streets.

The park currently houses a handful of tents. Those living here have room to create physical distance between one another and say it’s a far safer option than Topaz Park or Pandora Avenue.

Chase is in the park with his friend Joey Jenvey. Both have lived on the streets for years. Currently they’ve managed to find housing, but their friends are living in the park.

“Being homeless, I’ve been tempted with a lot of stuff and it’s hard to get away from it,” said Jenvey. “If I was a little bit younger I probably would have fallen into a lot more traps than I did.”

Neighbours say the encampment has been in the park for about a week without any reported problems.

Marion Anderson lives across the street for the park.

“It’s been really good so far,” said Anderson. “There has been some people camped out for the last week and it’s been fine.”

“Probably the next couple of weeks will tell the story,” said Pam Vuckson, a park visitor. “I think if there isn’t a lot of disturbances and it doesn’t become a mecca for drug dealers, it could work very well for them.”