Victoria Rezones Ellice Street Location for Shelter
At a City Council meeting on Thursday, July 24, Victoria City Council voted 5:2 in favour of rezoning 535 Ellice Street to accommodate a new, purpose-built shelter to be completed in 2010. The new shelter will be much improved over the current Streetlink location on Store Street with a large outdoor courtyard area, additional interior space for counselling and support services, storage for residents’ belongings, the capacity for 82 shelter beds for men and women, 20 emergency, cold weather shelter mats, 23 self-contained, transitional apartments, and two family shelter units – where none currently exist in the Capital Region.
The shelter will be designed so that a significant portion of the facility can be converted into long-term, supportive housing as Cool Aid works together with other members of the community to build more housing and end homelessness. The existing Streetlink shelter will be converted into an additional 15 units of supportive housing downtown.
Full staffing levels will ensure a high-level of support to help residents improve their lives and find long-term housing. The Victoria Police have committed to a co-location at the new facility from where they can do community outreach, which should help alleviate some of the existing neighbourhood concerns.
Mayor Alan Lowe was in favour of the re-zoning motions which were also supported by Councillors Sonya Chandler, Chris Coleman, Bea Holland, Helen Hughes and
Charlayne Thornton-Joe. Geoff Young and Pamela Madoff opposed the motions while Dean Fortin absented himself from the hearing due to a conflict of interest.