Housing
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Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Victoria studio apartments going up for prisoners getting out

28 studio apartments will be dedicated to those looking for a fresh start after leaving a correctional institution.

Mark Brennae
June 19, 2024
Housing
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Victoria studio apartments going up for prisoners getting out

28 studio apartments will be dedicated to those looking for a fresh start after leaving a correctional institution.

Mark Brennae
Jun 19, 2024
Construction site at 736 Princess near Blashard. Photo: Mark Brennae / Capital Daily
Construction site at 736 Princess near Blashard. Photo: Mark Brennae / Capital Daily
Housing
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Victoria studio apartments going up for prisoners getting out

28 studio apartments will be dedicated to those looking for a fresh start after leaving a correctional institution.

Mark Brennae
June 19, 2024
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Victoria studio apartments going up for prisoners getting out
Construction site at 736 Princess near Blashard. Photo: Mark Brennae / Capital Daily

A building is going up at 736 Princess, a stone’s throw from the Island Farms dairy on Blanshard—and while it may appear to be just another of the many construction projects in the city, this new edifice will have the power to help build new lives—28 of them.

The building will feature 28 studio apartments owned and operated by the John Howard Society of Victoria—a non-profit organization dedicated to restarting the sidetracked lives of those who have committed crimes.

“Everyone deserves a good home, and we know that individuals transitioning from the correctional system to the community can face unique challenges in finding affordable housing,” Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon said in a release.

Site prep began in the spring and construction begins this month on the six-storey structure which will feature educational space, including a 46-square-metre (500-square-foot) kitchen, classrooms, and administrative space in the org’s new HQ. 

Fitting in with the neighbours

Manj Toor, the organization’s executive director tells Capital Daily the society has been part of the Burnside Gorge community for 40+ years and expects a smooth transition into the new digs.

“We did meet with neighbours in the area whose primary concern, in fact, was parking on the street which we’ve addressed,” Toor said. “As we expect accountability from those we serve, we also expect to be held accountable by the community in which we operate.”

The upper floors will house the apartments, each containing a private washroom and kitchenette. 

“These 28 new homes will make a big difference as the new residents also get supports for health care, social services, life skills, and employment training to help set them on the right path,” Kahlon said.

At ground level, there will be a café with outdoor seating where John Howard clients and residents—all men—will work to gain experience, which is part of what the society provides.

John Howard Society goes way back

Named after John Howard, an English prison reformer who lived in the 1720s, the society came to Vancouver in 1929 and was incorporated in 1932 as the John Howard Society of British Columbia. A Victoria office was opened three years later.

The group is dedicated to providing programs and services that centre on employment, mentorship, and restorative justice for all genders and transitional housing is for men.

Who paid for this building

The $18M project was funded by the province, which provided the vast majority of the money—$13.9M—Correctional Services Canada, the John Howard Society, the Northpine Foundation, the City of Victoria, and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. 

Construction is expected to be completed in early 2026, when residents—men who have been living in three homes in the Burnside Gorge area—and approximately 45 John Howard staffers, the majority of whom have been working out of temporary offices at 637 Bay, are slated to move in.

contact@capitaldaily.ca

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Victoria studio apartments going up for prisoners getting out
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