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Vic West's Russell Street shelter re-envisioned as 40-unit supportive housing complex

A rendering depicting BC Housing's plans to transform a warehouse on Russell Street – currently being used as a temporary shelter facilility operated by the Our Place Society – into a 40-unit supportive housing project.  BC Housing / Christine Lintott Architect

Vic West's Russell Street shelter re-envisioned as 40-unit supportive housing complex
MIKE KOZAKOWSKI, CITIFIED.CA
A homeless shelter on Russell Street in Victoria’s Vic West neighbourhood will be transformed into 40 supportive homes with construction to begin by mid-2023, if plans outlined by BC Housing are approved.
 
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The two-storey project could join six developments situated in the City of Victoria, Saanich and Central Saanich that will deliver approximately 280 supportive housing units by late 2023 (according to BC Housing's timelines) for people experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness in the Capital Region.
 
BC Housing, as part of a community information session held in July, says it plans to submit a formal rezoning application to the City of Victoria this fall. The agency is seeking approvals to transform a warehouse facility at 225 Russell Street, currently being used as a homeless shelter, into a residential complex managed by Victoria’s Our Place Society. A public hearing is anticipated by summer of 2022.
 
BC Housing opened the Russell Street shelter on a temporary basis in the spring of 2021 with Our Place Society acting as the operator. The warehouse was sold to BC Housing earlier in the year for over $9 million, a price which reportedly includes its renovation from industrial to residential uses.
 
Pending approvals, completion is targeted for mid-2024.
 
Russel Street shelter.
Russell Street shelter.
Renderings depicting interiors of BC Housing's plans for a repurposing of the Russell Street homeless shelter into supportive housing units. The top rendering is a vision for the top floor walkway or corridor, with the bottom rendering showing 225 Russell Street's future entrance.  BC Housing / Christine Lintott Architect
 
Designed by Christine Lintott Architect, the envisioned re-purposing of the warehouse will feature glassed and open air walkway spaces atop the complex, small self-contained studio units for residents, a communal laundry and lounge, a reception area with 24/7 resident supports, and an outdoor garden fronting Russell Street. Surface parking will also be included for approximately a dozen vehicles.
 
BC Housing's initiative will be one of two supportive residences earmarked for Vic West, with a facility at 865 Catherine Street in its early stages of construction following a recent demolition of a single-storey commercial building. The 45-unit Catherine Street building will be managed by the Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness Society. C
 
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