Victoria mayor calls for 'tiny homes' for homeless at Royal Athletic Park
VICTORIA -- Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps and Coun. Jeremy Loveday have tabled a motion calling for the expedited approval and funding of ‘tiny home’ clusters in the parking lot of Royal Athletic Park.
The tiny homes, which would be made out of converted shipping containers by local development company Aryze Developments, would house 30 unsheltered people currently living in the city.
Currently, unsheltered people are already living in tents at Royal Athletic Park after the city and BC Housing moved the campers from Central Park to the parking lot due to recent flooding.
The recent motion tabled by Helps and Loveday would be part of the city’s plan to house all unsheltered people in Victoria by the end of March.
The motion notes that the city, BC Housing and other community partners are working to create roughly 200 indoor shelter spaces by March 31, including the 30 spaces that would be set up at Royal Athletic Park.
According to city staff’s most recent report on the tiny homes proposal, the temporary structures would be in place at the parking lot from March 2021 to September 2022 at the latest.
“The site will house people temporarily as longer term, permanent housing solutions are built in the city and the region over the next 18 months,” reads the motion, which will be discussed at the city’s community of the whole meeting on Jan. 14.
Ultimately, the motion calls for city council to approve a temporary use permit to Aryze Developments for up to 20,000 square feet of the Royal Athletic Parking lot for construction the tiny home community.
The tiny home community would be operated by the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness, which would also offer peer support.
In late 2020, Aryze Developments and the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness launched a crowdfunding campaign to convert shipping containers into private shelter units. As of Friday, the fundraiser had raised more than $242,000 – just under half of its $500,000 goal.
On Wednesday, with nearly half the funding goal already collected, Aryze told CTV News that it was planning to begin construction of 15 tiny homes.
“There’s no point sitting on half the funds raised, so if we can provide 15 homes for people, let’s do it,” said Aryze Developments partner Luke Mari on Jan. 6. “We are mobilizing a team and because its all about building the most homes we are able to donate our team’s resources to stretch the dollars even further.”