(Image / World Refugee Day, Victoria BC Facebook)

The District of Oak Bay announced on Tuesday that it will be leasing two District-owned properties to the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society (VIRCS).

The houses located at 1531 Hampshire Road and 1538 Monterey Avenue will be signed for three-year leases to provide transitional supportive housing for newly arrived refugees.

The Hampshire house will be rented to a family while the Monterey house will shelter refugee couples, individuals, or single parents.

“The District is pleased to support housing and services for those in need, particularly as the longer-term use of the building awaits the larger village planning process,” said Mayor Kevin Murdoch.

The lease on 1531 Hampshire Road is an extension of a prior agreement that started in 2018 and is scheduled to end this year.

A Memorandum of Understanding has been in place for 1538 Monterey Avenue for 2018 but this will be the first time the building has been leased in this manner.

The District says that VIRCS will be responsible for maintaining the properties, including basic landscaping. The Society will also be working with volunteer groups and contractors to improve the houses.

The property at Monterey Avenue will be rezoned by the District for a maximum occupancy of eight residents plus a caretaker or employee in a separate room, provided the application is approved by Council after a public hearing.