As part of our series on poverty and homelessness we asked people to consider sharing a story about their experiences. Sharing these stories serves as a reminder that poverty and homelessness are not a choice. It’s important for us to end the stigma and stereotypes that are too often associated with these issues. Each of us has followed a different path from the past to the present. Yet some of our paths have been rockier than others.
This week we are pleased to offer the fifth of these stories. We are grateful to the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul Victoria for providing it to us. St Vincent de Paul is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the needs of any person who needs their help.
After almost 7 years of planning, Rosalie’s Village, a Saint Vincent de Paul (SVDP) housing project for homeless women and children, is expected to begin construction in March 2015. Inspired by the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child” the concept of this project is to provide housing and accessibility to the many services the CRD offers to vulnerable women and children. Working with many partners builds community and the confidence to move forward.
The vision is two-fold: to make available safe, affordable housing for young mothers with small children on their journey to independence and the transition into market rental housing; to offer a home to older women coming out of various homeless/at risk situations until they qualify for appropriate seniors housing. Needs assessments reveal that this type of housing is much needed in the CRD. It is estimated the region needs at least 250 supportive housing units and 1,500 affordable/low-market units.
Rosalie’s Village will be a 42 unit housing project which will include an infant/toddler daycare with capacity for 37 children, priority given to residents of Rosalie’s Village. This daycare, Mary’s Place, will provide secure childcare so that their mothers can focus on bettering their lives and those of their children through education and employment. It is difficult to break the cycle of poverty, but it has been identified that finding a home is integral to success along with access to childcare, education and employment. Giving young mothers a ‘hand-up’ will affect subsequent generations in achieving a good standard of living. The children of Mary’s Place will be able to attend free of charge to the mothers through the federal day care subsidy and a top-up provided by Saint Vincent de Paul.
In addition to donating the land, the Society is committed to raising $1.2 million dollars toward this project. To date the Society has raised over $700,000 toward that goal. Pacifica Housing and M’akola Housing will assist with intake and referrals. Other partnerships include the District of Saanich, Capital Regional District, The Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness, CMHC, BC Housing, Joe Newell Architects and M’akola Development Services.
In order to achieve the goal of transitioning to independence, several programs will operate from Rosalie’s Village. There will be resident support workers who will develop a plan with each tenant to map out a road to independence. This will be a case managed agreement between the Society and the tenant and may involve attending high school or college or beginning a career path. Placement and the transition to seniors housing for the older women will also be done with the assistance of the resident support workers. As well there will be a Social Concern Office in the building where tenants can access services include work training programs, women’s day programs, life skills training, an income tax program etc. All of the foregoing services are already funded by the Society through donations and sale of goods at the six Victoria area thrift stores.
The Society has almost 100 years of experience providing support to those in need through home visits throughout the Capital Regional District. In fact, SVDP is celebrating its 100th anniversary of service on Vancouver Island in 2016. Our home visitors would extend this support to assist the tenants of Rosalie’s Village, offering a variety of supports including the donation of food and clothing and advocacy in accessing local services.
The Society is counting on the support of Victoria residents and accepts donations in person, by phone, by mail, or over the Internet. More information is available on the Rosalie’s Village website: http://www.rosaliesvillage.ca/
Rosalie’s Village web site is www.rosaliesvillage.ca
Our Society web site is www.svdpvictoria.com
We also have a facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ssvpvancouver?ref=aymt_homepage_panel
Spreading awareness also really helps and “I Support Rosalies” buttons are available and can be ordered through our administration office at 4349 West Saanich Road, Victoria, BC Canada (250) 727-0007 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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