A former youth detention centre in View Royal has been converted into a new therapeutic recovery community for people who have a history of repeated incarceration, addiction, and homelessness.
The rezoning application for the facility was first approved in June. The 94 Talcott Road location was used by the Our Place Society as a transitional housing facility for a few years, before being shut down in March.
The therapeutic community is designed specifically for men and has room for a total of 50 participants who will be residing in the building for 2 years.
“It’s only men because the population we serve is 80% men so if we did have a facility for both sexes, the ratio wouldn’t be successful for women; it’d be 45 men to 5 women,” Grant McKenzie, Director of Communications at Our Place Society, told Victoria Buzz.
“We do have a vision in the near future of opening up a women’s-only facility, and there are plans to open a youth facility as well, but for now, to have the best success it’s better to go all men.”
Programs and capacity
Our Place Society and Island Health are partnering up to provide professional supports and services to participants in the program.
According to a press release from the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, people living at the facility will have access to “culturally appropriate and safe therapeutic recovery programming, including counselling and integration of Indigenous and non-Indigenous healing approaches” from a team of a physician, a psychiatrist, nurses and clinical counsellors.
They will also be able to develop skills that would be applicable in the outside world, such as construction, woodworking, cooking, etc.
While the program can accommodate up to 50 people, it currently has 2 people enrolled with more to join gradually.
“Our director, Dana Young, interviews people one-on-one to make sure that they’re ready to join, make sure they’d be a good part of the community,” says McKenzie.
“We want to make sure everyone in there wants to be in there, and is ready to put the work in on themselves.”
Our Place Society expects around 12 people to be incorporated into the program over the next month, and to reach full capacity within a year.
The Society’s vision for the project came five years before its actual implementation.
Since then, the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, BC Housing, and Island Health came together to provide the funding that made their vision come to life.
Here’s the breakdown of who chipped in how much:
- Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions: $4.7 million
- BC Housing: $310,000 grant for renovations, a $1/year lease, and will cover property taxes for three years
- Island Health: $300,000 in annual operating funds to support clinical services.
The project will be monitored by the Ministry who will then determine whether or not the same model can be applied to other parts of the province.
The goal is for everyone who goes through the program to be in control of their addictions, have a place to live, a job, and have mastered life skills, after coming out of it.