Sunday, April 21, 2024

‘Urgent need for housing’ drives North Park’s Tiny Town to reopen under new name

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The sea canister housing initiative formerly known as Tiny Town is reopening on Caledonia Avenue is slated to reopen under new ownership under a new banned. 

Caledonia Place will be the new name of the site formerly known as Tiny Town going forward.

The City of Victoria and the BC government have come to an agreement called a memorandum of understanding to coordinate rapid supports for people who are unhoused in Victoria. 

Tiny Town operated on Caledonia Avenue with Our Place Society overseeing the residents that lived there. 

BC Housing acquired the sea canisters that made up the units some of Victoria’s unhoused lived in once it closed, and the units were taken away from the site for refurbishment until it could be decided where they would go next.

Now, the Province has announced that they will be returning to the area with the Homeless Encampment Action Response Temporary Housing (HEARTH) program funding the project. 

This is coming in an effort to mitigate the number of unhoused Victorians occupying parks and sleeping rough on the streets of the city. 

“The Province and the City continue to work together to tackle the urgent need for housing, shelter and social support in our community,” said Marianne Alto, mayor of Victoria. 

“This partnership underscores our ongoing commitment to human-centred solutions for people experiencing homelessness in Victoria.”

She said that in agreeing to this memorandum of understanding, Caledonia Place is just the first step. 

The site will be comprised of 30 units and will be funded by the HEARTH program and once again, Our Place Society will be overseeing the operations side of the project. 

As of this publication, Caledonia Place will be operational until September 2025.

“We know that small, well-managed sites, like the former Tiny Town, can be safe for both those needing support and the neighbourhoods around them when they are appropriately located,” said Chief Const. Del Manak, Victoria Police Department. 

“We support this approach to finding solutions for our most vulnerable populations and look forward to continuing our work toward a safer community together.”

Neither the Province, nor the City were specific in when Caledonia Place would be set to open.

Victoria City Councillor Stephen Hammond immediately spoke out against this initiative once it was announced.

“It’s easy for politicians to make ‘tough decisions’ they never have to live with,” Hammond said. 


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“If these elected representatives are so happy with this kind of housing, with virtually no security for the law-abiding citizens who call this area home, they should be proud to say ‘No, I insist! You put this facility in my neighbourhood, across from my family and my children, because I clearly know how safe this place truly is.’”

He called the move by the Province and the City “completely heartless,” saying that more funding needs to be put towards security in the area when Caledonia Place opens. 

It is important to note that although some residents in the area were unhappy with Tiny Town and claimed to have additional crime in the area, no crime was ever specifically linked to the residents that used to live there.

In addition to Caledonia Place being opened, the Province has expanded shelter capacity in Victoria by giving additional funding to the extreme-weather response shelter at St. John the Divine Church on Quadra Street. 

The SOLID Outreach Society run program will be able to offer 30 beds as a temporary winter shelter when needed. 

mm
Curtis Blandy
curtis@victoriabuzz.com

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