Entrance to one of the tiny homes in North Park’s Tiny Home Village (Kiernan Green / Victoria News Staff)

Entrance to one of the tiny homes in North Park’s Tiny Home Village (Kiernan Green / Victoria News Staff)

North Park Tiny Home Village opens at Royal Athletic Park lot to 30 unhoused

Residents will settle into new private units and the North Park community over the weekend

North Park neighbours welcomed residents of the latest housing option for those living in Victoria’s parks as 10 to 15 residents moved into the city’s new Tiny Home Village Friday (May 14).

The village, announced in January as a collaboration between BC Housing, the city, and Our Place Society, will house a single resident in each of the 30 units in the Royal Athletic Park parking lot.

Turnover is expected over the village’s 18-month duration as residents are assessed on their level of need and support required. There are no plans to add additional units, said Our Place Society communication director Grant McKenzie, who hopes to see it empty and everyone in permanent housing at that point.

The Tiny Home Village is a relief those in Greater Victoria experiencing homelessness, which increased 40 per cent to 270 between 2016 and 2020. According to the Capital Regional District’s homelessness count and housing needs survey for that year, at least 1,500 people in the CRD were experiencing some form of homelessness in 2020.

“I think for the neighbourhood and for the city, this is really positive,” said North Park resident Katie Fillion. Last year, upwards of 100 private tents were set up in nearby Central Park, she said. When flooding occurred, several moved camp to the parking lot where the village now stands.

“It was really difficult,” said Fillion, who had made close acquaintances with some of those who’d moved to the Royal Athletic parking lot. “People were struggling. There was no hot water, there were no showers. But people really came together as a community.”

VIDEO: Royal Athletic Park tiny home village set to welcome 30 people

Each resident of the Tiny Home Village will have a private bed, mini-fridge, wardrobe and chair, as well as access to shared washroom and storage facilities, said McKenzie. He added that couples will be given their own units to provide a “safe space” in the case of a falling out and that pets will be up to the discretion of staff. Breakfast and dinner will be delivered daily, said McKenzie.

The 160 sq.ft. storage container units – which can get 15 degrees hotter on the inside than outside, according to equipment expertise site Equipment World – have each been fit with a window, vent, heater for cold weather but no air conditioning. McKenzie said eventually installed rooftop gardens will help cool units along with “beautifying” the village.

The goal is to provide those experiencing homelessness with a chance to stabilize their lives.

“Having that proper nutrition and a good night’s sleep, the transformation that you see in people is palpable,” McKenzie said. “All of a sudden, you start to see people gaining weight – healthy weight. It’s like a tremendous exhalation of relief for stress and anxiety.”

From there, residents can determine their next steps, be that addressing mental health, tackling drug dependencies or entering the workforce. Ideally, they’ll become “perfect candidates” for permanent housing, which itself is “badly needed in Victoria,” said McKenzie.

RELATED STORY: Feds put $13.1 million toward 91 new affordable housing units in Saanich, Central Saanich

Despite the mix of strong opinions highlighted in local media, North Park resident Kay Gallivan said the neighbourhood has been “very, very positive” towards the village’s development. While painting the walled community’s mural, “residents were shouting messages of support at us, saying that they think it looks terrific and that they’re so glad that this initiative is happening,” she said.


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

Drugshomeless housing

 

Katie Fillion’s home, displaying support for North Park’s new Tiny Home Village (Kiernan Green / Victoria News Staff)

Katie Fillion’s home, displaying support for North Park’s new Tiny Home Village (Kiernan Green / Victoria News Staff)

Just Posted

Staff member Lena Laitinen gives the wall at BoulderHouse a workout during a media tour on June 16. (Rick Stiebel/News Staff)
BoulderHouse raring to rock Langford

Popularity of bouldering continues to climb across Greater Victoria

The Sooke Potholes is a jewel in the community's crown. Transition Sooke hosts a town hall meeting on community growth on June 26. (Courtesy: Sooke News Mirror)
Sooke forum tackles community growth

To Grow or Not to Grow online town hall meeting set for June 26

General manager Lindsey Pomper says Sidney’s Star Cinema cannot wait welcome audiences when it reopens June 18, amid an easing of public health measures. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney’s Star Cinema raises curtain for the first time after months in the darkness

Iconic theatre to reopen at half capacity for Friday night showing

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.’s Indigenous language, art and culture

North Saanich advisor says initiative supports urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

A dogs in parks pilot study unanimously approved by Saanich council will evaluate how park space can best be shared between dog owners and non-owners alike. (Photo by Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Saanich to study park-sharing strategy between those with and without pets

District-wide People, Parks and Dogs study to produce recommendations by fall

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Green party Leader Annamie Paul speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Paul has survived another day of party strife after a planned ouster shifted course, leaving her with a tenuous grip on power ahead of a likely federal election this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul blasts ‘racist,’ ‘sexist’ party execs who sought ouster

Fallout has continued, with two of the federal council’s members resigning

Most Read