Victoria’s new Russell Street Transitional Shelter opened Monday (May 3) to the first 30 campers moving out of city parks. With room for 60 residents, the facility at 225 Russell St. features individual and couple pods, plus laundry, washrooms, showers, three meals per day, outdoor courtyard, two overdose prevention strategies, 24/7 staff and 24/7 security.
Our Place Society, a non-profit experienced in helping the unhoused, operates the building and provides supports that include daily meals, access to sanitary and hygiene facilities, storage for belongings and health and wellness program access and referrals. The shelter will be open for 18 months, with a possible extension of another six months.
The province purchased the Vic West building in late March targeting a May 1 move-in date for residents as Victoria’s bylaw banning daytime camping in public parks came back into effect.
While the bylaw is in effect, those who are preparing to move are not required to pack up daily, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps reminded residents through her blog. Those who do not accept an offer of housing will be required to remove belongings from city parks by 7 a.m.
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