Frequently Asked Questions are below.
Victoria Cool Aid Society builds homes, lives and community. We create opportunities for people who are homeless or living in poverty. We make a difference through housing, health care, support and emergency shelters. Founded in 1968, Cool Aid helps 10,000 people in the Capital Region every year, at 16 locations in Langford, Victoria and Saanich – including 12 supportive housing apartment buildings. The Society’s major campaign is “Help End Homelessness”, to build an additional 360 apartments for people in the community who have no home — including our proposed redevelopment of the Cedar Grove property.
The Cedar Grove property at 210 Gorge Road East was originally designed as a motel, and while we have been fortunate to house 21 individuals there since 2006, the property is poorly designed for permanent residence. A redevelopment provides an opportunity to add additional affordable housing for the neighbourhood, create a tasteful new building that fits into the community, and to create a better living space for everyone.
The FAQ below (Frequently Asked Questions) has been prepared to answer some of the most common questions we hear about Cedar Grove.
Contact information can be found below should you want to speak to someone from Cool Aid or are interested in a tour of Cedar Grove or other Cool Aid programs; an opportunity to meet our staff and tenants.
Click on a question to read the answer.
Who Lives at Cedar Grove?
- Who lives in these apartments? Who will live there in the future?
- Will you allow pets at Cedar Grove?
- Will the people living at Cedar Grove be employed?
- Where will the current residents live when the existing buildings are demolished?
What Will the Neighbourhood Impacts Be?
- How will staff support the residents and neighbourhood at Cedar Grove?
- What are your expectations of the residents?
- Does Cool Aid have any measurable results or evidence to show that your programs and services are successful?
- Will there be any drop-in services at Cedar Grove?
What About Neighbourhood Consultation and Rezoning?
Answers to Questions
Answer: There is going to be a mix of tenants at Cedar Grove.
Most of the apartments (50 of 81) will be for people who cannot afford regular Victoria rents, including students, seniors and low income workers.
The remaining apartments are reserved for the existing 21 tenants who wish to move back to Cedar Grove when the construction is completed and for another 10 adults. These 31 apartments are intended for people with a wide variety of needs and ages, including mental health conditions, addictions, head injuries and fetal alcohol syndrome, for men and women who have been homeless and require housing and support services.
Answer: Most Cool Aid properties, including Cedar Grove, welcome our tenant’s pets.
In fact, one of Cool Aid’s supporters is the Sooke Animal Food and Rescue Society (SAFARS), whose donors provide a significant amount of food for pets who are living with Cool Aid clients.
As well, Cool Aid has set up a “Pets In Need Endowment” at the Victoria Foundation to help our clients with some of their pet expenses, such as operations, thanks to a generous bequest in his will from the late Carl Young.
Answer: It might surprise neighbours to learn that many, perhaps a majority, of the people who will live at Cedar Grove will have regular jobs, as well as casual work.
As well, Cool Aid has a longstanding policy of providing employment training opportunities for residents who want to gain some skills and earn a bit of money. Their janitorial contributions help build community and pride within the apartment buildings as well as providing new skills.
Other Cool Aid programs also provide employment training and placement opportunities for our residents and other clients:
- Cool Aid’s Community Casual Labour Pool provides a free placement service for employers and casual workers who are available, trained and ready to work, including home owners who need help gardening, moving or with other needs.
- The Downtown Community Centre, operated by Cool Aid at 755 Pandora Avenue near City Hall, provides employment training opportunities, lifeskills courses and healthy recreation opportunities for our residents and others. The free Community Kitchen program, for example, provides training in nutrition, food purchasing, preparation and storage, and leads to a Food Safe certification for participants.
The Beacon Services-Cool Aid Thrift Shop at 715 Pandora Avenue provides Cool Aid clients with employment training opportunities in retail operations as well as an inexpensive place to purchase clothing, household goods and other needed essentials.
Answer: Cool Aid is committed to ensuring that no one is made homeless when the old buildings are demolished. We will offer existing tenants the opportunity to move into other Cool Aid buildings and apartments operated by other local, non-profit organizations. As well — every tenant will have the right to claim a new apartment at the new Cedar Grove if they wish to return.
Answer: Yes, Cool Aid utilizes a Balanced Scorecard methodology to measure our progress towards meeting our strategic objectives and reports out annually to the community. Cool Aid has also been featured in local and national research as an example of best practices in supportive housing.
Answer: No. Support staff and services are only for tenants.
Answer: Cedar Grove will be staffed 24/7 by Cool Aid’s professional housing support workers, who are there to assist the tenants and help out with any neighbourhood concerns and suggestions.
Answers: At minimum, Cool Aid requires that all residents behave in appropriate ways both in the building and the neighbourhood. Any resident that is unable to be a good neighbour will be asked and assisted to help change any antisocial behaviours. If they are unsuccessful, the person may be moved to another building or evicted if necessary.
Answer: Cedar Grove is currently zoned for “transient” housing, i.e. hotel zoning.
Before the old buildings are demolished and a brand new one is constructed, there will be a full rezoning process as well as a development permit application, both of which allow for community input and consultation. These processes will be attended to by Cool Aid and managed by the City of Victoria and the Burnside Gorge Community Association.
Cool Aid looks forward to working with the Community Association and neighbours to design the best building possible for this location which allows for affordable and supportive housing to continue at 210 Gorge Road East and provides more housing for people with low incomes.
Tours or more info about Cool Aid: Alan Rycroft, arycroft@CoolAid.org, 250-414-4781
Additional Housing Campaign Information