Cool Aid Opens Rock Bay Landing and Queens Manor
October 29, 2010 – The Victoria Cool Aid Society, with support from BC Housing, is moving the services from the Streetlink emergency shelter at 1634 Store Street to the new Rock Bay Landing facility at 535 Ellice Street on Wednesday, November 3. No residents will lose their bed during the transition – they will sleep at Streetlink on November 2 and sleep at Rock Bay on November 3. To enable staff to complete the move, drop-in services will not be available from November 1-3.
The new, purpose-built Rock Bay Landing facility offers many improvements including:
- 84 permanent shelter beds; up from 80 at Streetlink.
- 23 new units of transitional housing will be available starting in mid-November.
- Two units of family shelter are available – the first in the Capital Region.
- There is expanded space for 20 shelter mats during extreme weather conditions.
Plus many more improvements:
- A card lock system and lockers for each resident will allow almost 24-hour access to their rooms. At Streetlink, room access was restricted to overnight hours only.
- A large exterior courtyard, accessed through the building, is available for residents and drop-in visitors. No courtyard was available at Streetlink.
- There is a day storage service available for non-residents and carts can be accommodated on site.
- Washrooms, showers, laundry, training workshops, computer access, kitchen and dining facilities are greatly improved.
- Additional rooms allow more opportunities for group work, counselling and client meetings and services.
- A community policing office is located in the shelter.
- Rock Bay Landing is built to the highest green standards (LEED GOLD) including solar panels on the roof, heat recovery, superior insulation and much more.
- Pets are welcomed at Rock Bay Landing.
- There will be many more volunteer opportunities for community members.
Queens Manor Housing –
On November 1, Victoria Cool Aid Society, with assistance from the City of Victoria, BC Housing, Government of Canada and Vancouver Island Health Authority, will be opening “Queens Manor” – a building with 36 units of supportive housing for adults currently without a home. The building, a former Travellers Inn which was purchased by the City of Victoria, is located at 710 Queens Street (corner of Douglas). Sixteen or more adults will move in on November 1, and the rest of the units will be settled during the remainder of November. Single adults, couples and tenants with pets will be accommodated at Queens Manor.
The building will be operated with two Cool Aid housing staff on site 24/7 until the end of January 2011. At that time, renovation work will begin to make the motel rooms better suited for permanent housing. With the assistance of our many partners in the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness, we are confident that alternate accommodations will be found for our Queens Manor tenants while the renovation is underway.
Together with the 23 transitional housing units at the new Rock Bay Landing building on Ellice Street, Cool Aid is now operating 315 modest apartments with 24/7 staffing –saving taxpayers millions of dollars annually*. (These savings occur because people who are homeless require significantly more expensive emergency health and justice services, such as hospital beds and emergency room visits, police calls and court appearances.)
Early in 2011, Cool Aid will open, in Saanich, 36 apartments for low-income seniors who might otherwise be without housing, at the new Olympic Vista building. Later in the year, an additional 23 modest apartments will be opened at Swift House, in the renovated space vacated by the old Streetlink emergency shelter.
This year marks a significant step forward for many people without homes in the Capital Region and for the whole community. Cool Aid thanks its partners without whom none of this would be possible, including: BC Housing and the Province of British Columbia, Vancouver Island Health Authority, City of Victoria, CRHD – all partners in the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness – as well as VANOC and many generous individuals, foundations and businesses.
The Victoria Cool Aid Society has been building hope, lives and community in the Capital Region for over 42 years, since 1968, through a wide range of programs including supported housing, emergency shelter, community health and dental services, employment services, mental health support and recreation and exercise programs for adults who are homeless or in need of help. For more information visit www.CoolAid.org or call 250-383-1977.
Kathy Stinson, Executive Director
John Crean, Manager of Housing
Don McTavish, Manager of Shelters
* Quoting the 2007 City of Victoria’s “Mayor’s Task Force on Breaking the Cycle of Mental Illness, Addictions and Homelessness”:
“Put simply, if we did nothing to change the system of services and supports, homelessness, mental illness and addictions would cost Victoria’s taxpayers an estimated $50,000 per client per year – a significantly higher cost than the $17,500 to $47,000 per client, per year the Expert Panel estimates is needed to implement the new service delivery model.”