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Victoria supportive housing facility's opening delayed

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The opening of a supportive housing facility for 50 young people in Victoria has been delayed despite construction being complete, and outreach advocates say an extension may be needed to avoid displacing a dozen of the anticipated tenants.

They’re currently living in North Park’s Tiny Homes Village, which was established during the pandemic to support unhoused people.

The site is set for closure on Sept. 30, but the new BC Housing facility some of the tenants are supposed to move to isn’t ready to open.

“We’re hoping that city council will give us an extension for one more month so that we’re not kicking people out onto the street,” says Our Place Society’s Grant McKenzie.

BC Housing built and furnished 50 supportive homes in a permanent facility on Meares Street. It’s designed to come with support services for people aged 19 to 27 who are marginalized and experiencing homelessness.

“We’re really close to being able to bring the site online,” says BC Housing spokesperson Sara Goldvine. “We know that, in particular, youth face very high rates of homelessness in the region and we all want to be able to move them indoors and provide them with the housing they need.”

Beacon Community Services was hired in spring 2022 and the chief executive officer says staff anticipated taking on operations in August.

“However, there has been an unanticipated delay in BC Housing finalizing our operating agreement,” says Tricia Gueulette.

Both of the parties are staying quiet about the nature of those conversations and neither is sharing details on where there may be a breakdown in communication.

“We are fully staffed and look forward to meeting the neighbours and moving folks in as soon as we have an operating agreement that ensures a successful, safe and supportive model for residents, staff and the community,” adds Gueulette in a statement to CTV News.

The city has been extending the licence on the Tiny Homes Village, and Our Place Society, the manager of the site, is hopeful council will do that again.

BC Housing says it’s committed to ensuring the dozen young people living in the tiny homes are not displaced amid the delay.

“Youth who’ve experienced some really significant barriers in their lives so we really appreciate their patience,” says Goldvine.

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