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Anawim unveils new housing for Victoria women in need

“Family-style” supportive housing for women opening this summer, said non-profit

Robyn Bell
April 25, 2023
Homelessness
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Anawim unveils new housing for Victoria women in need

“Family-style” supportive housing for women opening this summer, said non-profit

Robyn Bell
Apr 25, 2023
Members of Anawim Companion Society, Aryze Development, and The Victoria Foundation plant sage to kick off the opening of the Anawim womens’ house. Photo: Robyn Bell / Capital Daily
Members of Anawim Companion Society, Aryze Development, and The Victoria Foundation plant sage to kick off the opening of the Anawim womens’ house. Photo: Robyn Bell / Capital Daily
Homelessness
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Anawim unveils new housing for Victoria women in need

“Family-style” supportive housing for women opening this summer, said non-profit

Robyn Bell
April 25, 2023
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Anawim unveils new housing for Victoria women in need
Members of Anawim Companion Society, Aryze Development, and The Victoria Foundation plant sage to kick off the opening of the Anawim womens’ house. Photo: Robyn Bell / Capital Daily

A community-funded housing facility for at-risk women in Victoria will begin welcoming new residents this summer, as announced by Anawim Companion Society at an unveiling Tuesday.

The home will serve as a safe, substance-free environment for women-identifying people in Victoria who struggle with addiction and housing issues. This will be the first Anawim home for women. Anawim president Dan Greco said that in the past, the society was turning women away from their men-only facility “on a daily basis.”

The two-storey house, located in a quiet Victoria neighbourhood, has private rooms for each resident, a full-scale kitchen, common areas and a community garden in the backyard, where a sage planting ceremony kicked off the home’s unveiling. The exact location is undisclosed to protect the privacy of incoming residents.

“For people who want to help themselves and move on with their lives, we provide stability and triage counselling and support,” Greco said.

Anawim housing focuses on the unique approach of family-style care and providing personalized support for each resident. This community-centred approach has been successful at their mens’ facility, which has operated in Victoria since 1991. 

“Connection is the opposite of addiction,” Greco said. “By trying to replicate a family-style atmosphere in a small space like this, we can provide that one-on-one connection.”

“Everything is done like a family—you eat together, you live together, play together, and support each other,” said Sieuwke Stoppel, Director of Women’s Services for Anawim. “Everyone involved is coming together and wrapping themselves around these residents and saying, ‘what can we do to help you?’” 

“I think that’s the definition of family.”

The kitchen of the new Anawim womens' house. Photo: James Jones Photography / Provided by Aryze

As stage-two housing, residency at the home is intended to be temporary. There is no fixed timeline for a resident’s stay, where they will gain independent life skills that will allow them to eventually transition to more permanent housing.

The project was entirely community funded, including the land on which it was built, which was anonymously donated to Anawim. The two-storey home was built with the help of Aryze Developments, The Victoria Foundation, as well as individual donors. Even the building materials were largely acquired through donations, according to Michelle Griffin, project manager with Aryze Developments.

“It was humbling to see—every supplier that I reached out to was eager to donate or discount materials to bring this to fruition,” Griffin said. 

Griffin was excited to take on the project as a way of supporting the community without judgment. 

“I often think that it could be anyone who needs this resource," Griffin said. "There’s nothing saying that I won’t at some point in time need this support—it literally could be one life choice you make that takes you in the wrong direction and you may need this type of support, so it’s very important.”

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Robyn Bell
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