Grant McKenzie, director of communications at Our Place, pulls out one of the plastic totes in the new storage facility. The facility allows people to keep up to 50 pounds worth of possessions in a safe, dry space. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

WATCH: New storage facility opens at Victoria’s Our Place

The new building allows people without homes to store their possessions in a safe and dry place

People hauling grocery carts, suitcases and large bags around the downtown area will now have the option of storing their possessions. A new storage facility opened at Our Place Society on Feb. 13, the first of its kind in the Capital Region.

The free service can be accessed twice per day and allows 100 people to keep their possessions safe and dry. Eighty plastic totes, which hold up to 50 pounds, and space for grocery carts and suitcases are in the facility.

People can keep items there indefinitely as long as they check in on their items once per day, either in person or over the phone.

“The big thing really is that it’s to allow people to access shelter. A lot of time people don’t access shelter because they’re afraid that their items will be stolen,” said Grant McKenzie, director of communications at Our Place. “But also, for people looking to get a job interview, a doctors appointment … basic things that we don’t really think twice about but something they really have to put a lot of thought into.”

ALSO READ: With 60 shelter beds inside, some homeless opt to sleep in the snow

ALSO READ: Victoria, Our Place push for storage space to serve homeless population

The City of Victoria set aside more than $100,000 for the storage facility two years ago to cover building materials and the first year of staff wages but had trouble tracking down a good location for the site.

Previously, the space within the Our Place courtyard had been a temporary overdose prevention site, but since The Harbour supervised consumption site opened up next door the area became available.

READ MORE: Pandora supervised consumption site has busy first month

“We did lose a lot of space here, we have a very busy courtyard,” said Don Evans, executive director at Our Place. “But we also know how important this service is to the community and had to balance that out, and really felt like it was an important thing to do so we decided to take it on.”

By 9:30 a.m. a dozen bins were already claimed, including one by Don Keller, who says he’s been researching rainforests and climate change for over two decades.

“I have my 25 years of field notes, and I have one copy of it and I’m waiting for a day where I don’t go and have it totally destroyed,” Keller said. “I’ve also got my cameras with all the film that goes with it; I’m so worried, I have to publish this year.”

For Ryan Williams, having storage is a practical option for day-to-day chores.

“I can go do stuff now, I can pick up more applications and fill up my bag a bit differently; instead of just having clothing in there I can have some more food on me now,” Williams said. “It’s a weight off my shoulders.”

No illegal items are permitted within the storage unit, but McKenzie noted that a huge portion of this space is building trust with the community, so bins won’t be searched unless there is a reason to do so.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Send a Tweet: @NicoleCrescenzi

Like us on Facebook  

 

The new storage facility at Our Place will prevent people from keeping their possessions outside, and encourage them to step away from using shopping carts. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

The new storage facility at Our Place will prevent people from keeping their possessions outside, and encourage them to step away from using shopping carts. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Just Posted

Royal Bay drama students help police train for emergency

Students helped train crisis negotiators by acting out scenarios

Victoria BC Transit driver taken to hospital after assault

Driver attempted to stop an altercation between two people on the bus

Almost 150 hectares purchased for parks in the CRD

Capital Regional District purchases two sites to increase park connectivity

CRD’s 2019 financial plan includes 23 per cent increase for capital projects

Housing, health care and wastewater projects included in 2019 plan

How a scrawny kid from Oak Bay bulked into one of rugby sevens’ best

Doing it for Dylan, Oak Bay’s Connor Braid at the top of his game

VIDEO: Restaurant robots are already in Canada

Robo Sushi in Toronto has waist-high robots that guide patrons to empty seats

Permit rejected to bring two cheetahs to B.C.

Earl Pfeifer owns two cheetahs, one of which escaped in December 2015

Real-life tsunami threat in Port Alberni prompts evacuation updates

UBC study says some people didn’t recognize the emergency signal

Care providers call for B.C. seniors’ watchdog to step down

The association also asks the province to conduct an audit and review of the mandate of her office

Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from B.C. roaster recalled due to botulism scare

“If you purchased N7 Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from Cherry Hill … do not drink it.”

Short list for new gnome home includes Parksville, Coombs

Five potential locations have been chosen by Howard’s owners who will decide Tuesday

B.C. man gets award for thwarting theft, sexual assault – all in 10 minutes

Karl Dey helped the VPD take down a violent sex offender

Baby left alone in vehicle in B.C. Walmart parking lot

Williams Lake RCMP issue warning after attending complaint at Walmart Wednesday

CRD land ideal for alternate route

Reader says old pipeline route best option

Most Read