VICTORIA -- Media and local officials took a behind-the-scenes tour of the Tiny Homes Village in Victoria, which is set to receive its first 30 occupants on May 12.

The project will provide transitional housing for individuals experiencing homelessness in converted shipping containers located near Royal Athletic Park. The concept for the housing project was brought forward by Aryze Developments last December and received huge community support.

On Thursday’s tour, media and officials got their first look inside one of the village's 160-square-foot living units, furnished with a bed, side table, a small fridge and armoire with towels. The designers say the project is meant to have a community feel.

The project will give people a home with wrap-around supports to stabilize their lives and transition them into permanent housing, according to the province. That support will be carried out by Our Place.

“Our usual approach starts with a relationship with the people that we serve, and we will work with each individual to have a plan for them (and) work with them to find out what their needs are in terms of health, income, employment and education – the things they need to make things better in their life,” said Julian Daly, Our Place chief executive officer.

The Tiny Homes Village was first conceived by Luke Mari, development lead at Aryze Developments, back in January. The concept was a response to people living in inadequate housing during a pandemic.

“A country as prosperous as ours shouldn’t have people living in parks, in tents, so seeing people in secure, weather-protected heated homes that have dignity is just fantastic,” said Mari. “I can’t wait to see people living here.”

In under six months, the project went from concept to reality due to overwhelming support from the city, province and community. A crowdfunding campaign raised $550,000 in just three months for construction.

“This is one small step for 30 people that will take them closer to a permanent home,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps.

“We’re really pleased to be here today and this would not have happened without the community and without deep collaboration among the (Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness), Aryze, BC Housing, Our Place and everyone else who worked so hard to make this possible,” she said.

The village will be a home for people for the next 18 months, at which time other permanent housing projects will be completed, according to organizers.

Mari say he’s already received interest from First Nations and other municipalities to purchase the converted shipping containers.

The village includes communal washrooms and showers, an office and common space, storage, planter boxes for veggies and a public mural. Residents will be provided with two meals a day and the village will be staffed by three people 24-hours a day.