The City of Victoria has confirmed it will lease a vacant property in January to provide emergency shelter to the homeless, in a direct response to a growing tent city at the courthouse.

The former Boys and Girls Club at 1240 Yates Street has been approved for a short-term lease for four months.

It will provide 24/7 support including daily meals, storage and laundry to 40 people currently living without homes.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said in a statement the new shelter will also help address concerns of residents living near the tent city, which started to grow after word got out that homeless could set up camp without being evicted under city bylaws. That's because the courthouse lands falls under provincial, and not municipal, jurisdiction.

“It’s an emergency when we have approximately 100 people sleeping outside in the cold, wet weather, without washrooms, shelter or security,” said Helps. “Opening this shelter is responsive to both our residents’ concerns, about the impacts tenting is having on their City parks and neighbourhoods, as well as the compassionate concerns residents have for those living outside.”

The shelter will be operated by Our Place Society and will receive $400,000 in funding from BC Housing. The United Way of Greater Victoria and the City have also chipped in $25,000 and $45,000, respectively, for needed upgrades to make the facility temporarily liveable.

It is expected to open in the first week of January.

“We have been meeting with the tent people and trying to find out what works for them because many of them have been in shelters before and had issues with them and aren’t interested in them," Our Place director Don Evans told CFAX 1070 Monday.

The City is holding a public meeting at the shelter location on Wed., Dec. 30 at 7 p.m. to address neighbourhood concerns, including those of the parent advisory committee for nearby Central Middle School who say they weren't properly consulted about the location of the shelter.