DRAFT Mount Edwards Court Housing

On February 23, 2016, Victoria Cool Aid Society started operating the BC Housing-owned Mount Edwards Court to provide transitional housing and support services for 38 people; most of whom were homeless and living at the nearby tent city. Mount Edwards is located at 1002 Vancouver Street, at the corner of Rockland.

A year later, 20 individuals had been helped to find permanent housing who were living at Mount Edwards.

Here are some of the services Cool Aid is providing for the residents and neighbourhood:

  • Cool Aid has an operating agreement with BC Housing to provide transitional housing and supports for 38 people on the main floor.
  • Meals are provided every day for our residents.
  • Health supports are on-site weekly. Addiction and recovery supports are provided.
  • Life skills programming include financial and budgeting education.
  • Cool Aid has created a “clean and safe” team to help keep the neighbourhood clean and tidy. These teams pick up litter in the area near Mount Edwards Court.
  • Professional staff assist residents with goal setting and case planning, including assistance with locating permanent housing.

Web-sub-page-Banner-MT-Ed-BLANK-Feb-2016 Three Cool Aid Staff, including a dedicated, full-time Client Support Worker, are on-site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, who can be reached anytime at 778-265-3456 or in person by going up to the building and pressing the doorbell.

There is secure access to the building with visitor/guest controls. The front entrance is on Vancouver Street and access is controlled by staff. Likewise, the accessible entrance for those with mobility challenges is on Rockland; with access also controlled by staff. All other doors are for emergency use only.

Cool Aid is committed to engaging in a public rezoning process as part of the long-term planning for the use of Mount Edwards Court.

Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about Mount Edwards in our FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) or drop us a line.

You may also be interested in reading some research about Cool Aid’s programs and philosophy and why “housing first” and “harm reduction” are considered best practice in the sector.

See below for additional contact information.

Support for Mount Edwards Court

Our funding partner is the Province of BC (BC Housing). The City of Victoria provides a property tax exemption for the supportive housing.

Many neighbours support Cool Aid’s efforts to provide solutions to homelessness through the provision of housing and support services including:

Additional Information

Speak with the staff of Mount Edwards Court 24 hours any day at 778-265-3456 or contact the building coordinator John Sherratt by email at jsherratt@CoolAid.org.

If you have a suggestion, compliment or complaint, in addition to speaking with our staff on site, you can also fill out a form. A response will be given to you if you provide contact information.

To arrange a tour with Cool Aid and see for yourself what Cool Aid supportive housing looks like please feel contact: Alan Rycroft, arycroft@CoolAid.org, 250-414-4781.

If you are unable to get the answers you need, please feel free to contact a member of Cool Aid’s senior management team:


ORIGINAL

On February 23, 2016, Victoria Cool Aid Society started operating the BC Housing-owned Mount Edwards Court building to provide temporary transitional housing and support services for 38 people for approximately 12 months. Mount Edwards is located at 1002 Vancouver Street, at the corner of Rockland.

Cool Aid staff are on-site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There are three or more staff members at Mount Edwards at all times, with a security guard outside from 7 am to midnight each day.

We have a 24-hour phone number for any questions or immediate concerns. Please feel free to call Mount Edwards anytime at 778-265-3456, or speak with our staff by going up to the building and pressing the doorbell.

There will be secure access to the building with visitor/guest controls. The front entrance is on Vancouver Street and access is controlled by staff. Likewise, the accessible entrance for those with mobility challenges is on Rockland; with access also controlled by staff. All other doors are for emergency use only. At this time, resident guests are not accepted into the building.

Here are some of the services Cool Aid will be providing for residents and the neighbourhood:

  • Cool Aid has created a “clean and safe” team to keep the neighbourhood clean and tidy. These teams will pick up litter daily in the area near Mount Edwards Court.
  • Meals are provided every day for our residents.
  • Health supports are on-site weekly. Addiction and recovery supports are provided.
  • Life skills programming will include financial and budgeting education.
  • Professional staff assist residents with goal setting and case planning, including assistance with locating permanent housing.

Partners

  • BC Housing
  • City of Victoria (tax exemption)

Frequently Asked Questions

We know you have more questions about Mount Edwards and they are hopefully answered in our FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions). If not, drop us a line with your question.

You may also be interested in reading some research about Cool Aid’s programs and philosophy and why “housing first” and “harm reduction” are considered best practice in the sector.

See below for additional contact information.

Neighbourhood Meetings

For Cool Aid, responding to neighbourhood concerns is a priority, which is why, together with community representatives, a draft Neighbour Relations Framework has been written. As well, regular neighbourhood meetings have been held with representatives from the neighbourhood, Cathedral School, the City, VicPD, Mount Edwards’ residents and Cool Aid. These meetings were open to the public and minutes can be found below.

There are no further neighbourhood meetings scheduled at this time. The original intent of these meetings was to provide a venue to bring forward concerns specific to the current operation of Mount Edwards and to share ideas about how we can all improve our neighbourhood. Given that neighbours were mostly interested in discussing the future of Mount Edwards, it makes sense to put these meetings on hold until such time as we have new information to share. BC Housing has advised that there are currently no plans to proceed with rezoning.

If you do have any concerns or suggestions regarding the current operation of Mount Edwards, please don’t hesitate to contact us; we can be reached in a variety of ways:

Mount Edwards Court

24 hour phone: 778-265-3456
John Sherratt, Coordinator, jsherratt@CoolAid.org,

Victoria Cool Aid Society

Don McTavish, Director of Residential Services, dmctavish@CoolAid.org
Kathy Stinson, CEO, kstinson@CoolAid.org

Minutes from previous neighbourhood meetings:

Support for Mount Edwards Court

Our funding partner is the Province of BC (BC Housing).

Many neighbours support Cool Aid’s efforts to provide solutions to homelessness through the provision of housing and support services including the following:

A few letters to the Times Colonist:

Web-sub-page-Banner-MT-Ed-BLANK-Feb-2016The Future

While the building is in use for short-term, transitional housing, Cool Aid will be leading a public process with the community and the City of Victoria to confirm the long-term use of Mount Edwards Court for permanent housing. The long-term use of the property in no way changes what is happening at Mount Edwards today:

  • Cool Aid has an operating agreement with BC Housing to provide transitional housing and supports for people in the 38 units on the main floor until March 2017.
  • Cool Aid is committed to engaging in a public rezoning process as part of the long-term plan.
  • Cool Aid won’t be in a position to begin discussion on those long-term plans until the current operation has had a chance to settle into a routine.
  • Cool Aid will engage a working group that includes representation from the school, the Cathedral, and the neighborhood as we develop the long-term plan.
  • Cool Aid is not fixated on a final number of apartments at this time; that will flow from the planning process.

Additional Information

Speak with the Community Liaison staff outside the building or call Mount Edwards Court directly anytime at 778-265-3456.

If you have a suggestion, compliment or complaint, in addition to speaking with our staff on site, you can also fill out a form. A response will be given to you if you provide contact information.

To arrange a tour with Cool Aid and see what supportive housing looks like please feel contact: Alan Rycroft, Community Relations, arycroft@CoolAid.org, 250-414-4781.

If you are unable to get the answers you need, please feel free to contact a member of Cool Aid’s senior management team:


Province of British Columbia

The Province is the owner of Mount Edwards Court. Below is their announcement news release:

NEWS RELEASE
Additional temporary shelter and housing coming to Greater Victoria
February 5th, 2016
Ministry of Natural Gas Development and Responsible for Housing

VICTORIA – The Province will provide an additional 88 units of transitional housing and shelter, as well as 40 rent supplements for campers currently residing at the Victoria courthouse lawns.

Thirty-eight transitional housing units will be offered at the Mount Edwards Court Care Home at 1002 Vancouver St., which will be operated by the Victoria Cool Aid Society. The Province has purchased the building from the Baptist Housing Society for $3.65 million. The housing units will open in the coming weeks for approximately 12 months, and units will be rented for $375 per month. Island Health will also provide clinical support services at the site.

An additional 50 shelter units will be available at the former Victoria Youth Custody Centre building at 94 Talcott Rd. in View Royal and operated by Our Place Society. Campers will be provided with three meals per day and have the option of camping in the courtyard, which can accommodate at least 20 tents. The View Royal shelter will be open for approximately six months and the Mount Edwards one for approximately 12 months.

These facilities will also provide a range of support services to provide the campers with access to more stable, long-term housing, including rent supplements that will be administered by Pacifica Housing. These units are in addition to the 40 spaces at the former Boys and Girls Club that were made available in December.

Both facilities are expected to be operational by Feb. 23, 2016.

These 88 units of transitional housing and shelter are in addition to the 147 year-round homeless shelter spaces, 125 extreme weather shelter spaces and 145 temporary shelter spaces available in Victoria.

Both non-profit housing operators will hold public information sessions for each location, where community members will be invited to voice their concerns. Dates and locations are still being determined.

Provincial representatives are delivering a notice to each of the campers this morning to advise them that they must vacate the courthouse property by Feb. 25 due to safety concerns and to advise them of the additional housing options.

Quotes:

Rich Coleman, Minister of Natural Gas Development and Minister Responsible for Housing ─

“We have created these additional living spaces and are providing support services to help homeless individuals take an important step to find permanent, stable housing. I hope that people take this opportunity to make meaningful changes in their lives.”

Mayor Lisa Helps, City of Victoria ─

“We’re happy to see this much-needed investment in affordable housing in Victoria. We look forward to working with the Province and the neighbourhood to determine the best long-term use for the facility.”

Mayor David Screech, View Royal ─

“The homeless issue is truly a regional problem, and we believe that all jurisdictions must be part of the solution. With that philosophy, we are prepared to support Victoria and BC Housing’s initiative to use the youth custody centre as a facility for the homeless on a temporary basis. Victoria and BC Housing have shown great leadership in bringing forward these solutions.”

Don McTavish, senior manager, Victoria Cool Aid Society ─

“Cool Aid is excited to have this opportunity to house and support 38 people who are today homeless. We appreciate the support of the Province and look forward to working with the new residents, Cathedral School and neighbours to ensure this housing program integrates successfully into the neighbourhood.”

Don Evans, executive director, Our Place Society ─

“We are excited to offer people an opportunity to focus on their health needs. This state-of-the-art facility can deliver secure and stable shelter with access to food, hot showers, laundry and programs. The members of tent city have been asking for a place where they can still camp outdoors, but with access to the necessities they need. This facility delivers that and more.”

Quick Facts:

  • The Province has invested more than $176 million over the past five years toward approximately 5,000 units of subsidized housing and rent supplements in Victoria.
  • In 2014-15, the B.C. government invested more than $19 million to provide subsidized housing and rent supplements for more than 5,100 households in Victoria. This includes providing support for more than 2,200 senior households and more than 1,300 family households.
  • There are nearly 150 year-round homeless shelter spaces available in Victoria.
  • Last winter, more than 145 additional shelter spaces were available across Greater Victoria to increase emergency shelter space when extreme weather conditions threatened the safety and health of individuals.
  • The daytime drop-in centre at Our Place operates with $500,000 in funding from the B.C. government. In addition, the Province provided $125,000 in one time funding to help Our Place stay open longer.
  • Since 2001, the B.C. government has invested $4.4 billion to provide affordable housing for low income individuals, seniors and families.
  • This year, more than 102,500 B.C. households will benefit from provincial social housing programs and services.
  • The Province provided approximately $213 million last year to support more than 13,200 emergency shelter spaces, subsidized housing units and rent supplements for those who were homeless throughout British Columbia.
  • Last year, the Province invested over $19.7 million to provide subsidized housing and rent supplements for more than 5,100 Victoria households, including more than 970 of those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Learn More:

To learn more about provincial programs and services to address homelessness in Victoria, please visit: www.bchousing.org and www.housingmattersbc.ca/docs/fs_Homeless%20Supports_Victoria.pdf

To see a map of permanent and temporary shelters in B.C., please visit: http://www.bchousing.org/Options/Emergency_Housing/Map

Media Contact:
Jenny Lee-Leugner
BC Housing
604 439-4195