Victoria - Meares Street

Illustrative example of supportive housing building


The Province, through BC Housing, has purchased 1053 and 1075 Meares Street in Victoria with a plan to build approximately 50 new permanent homes with support services for people who are marginalized and experiencing homelessness.

This purchase is part of an ongoing commitment, working closely with the City of Victoria, to build housing solutions for those in need and is one of six new projects that will deliver more than 280 permanent supportive homes for people experiencing homelessness across the Capital region.

Housing with supports

Supportive housing is a self-contained studio home with various support services provided on-site, to help people achieve and maintain housing stability. Supports could include:

  • outreach workers
  • life skills training
  • employment assistance
  • connection and referral to community services and support groups.

Many of the people who will move into Meares Street have been living successfully in the temporary shelters leased in Victoria. Staff would be on-site 24/7 working with each resident to understand their needs and goals.

Applicants will go through an assessment process to make sure there is a mix of residents with the right supports. All residents will pay rent and sign a program agreement (similar to a tenancy agreement).

Development Process

BC Housing and the local municipalities agree it is necessary to expedite the process to provide permanent supportive homes as soon as possible for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. We are taking this approach because we recognize our most valuable citizens are facing distinct risk through the COVID-19 pandemic and there is an immediate need in the Capital region to provide permanent supportive homes as soon as possible.

This means moving forward as efficiently as possible to create new healthy, safe and stable homes for those in need of housing. Therefore, BC Housing will be moving straight to the construction phase. BC Housing is working closely with the municipalities throughout the development process.

Community Engagement

We will be engaging the community at various points throughout the development and setting up a community advisory committee to support future operations.

Community dialogue sessions

To ensure that everyone has an opportunity to learn more, ask questions and provide feedback, we will be hosting two Neighbourhood Dialogue Sessions. During these sessions we will share information about this project, hear from the community about how we can work together to integrate this into the community, and how this housing will support people in the community who are at risk or currently experiencing homelessness.   

These facilitated sessions will begin with a presentation to share information on the project, small break out groups to hear from attendees, followed by a question-and-answer period.  

Please sign up for one of the following sessions (space is limited):  

Your feedback and comments are important to us

We welcome questions and comments below in the Q&A tool or by email to communityrelations@bchousing.org.


The Province, through BC Housing, has purchased 1053 and 1075 Meares Street in Victoria with a plan to build approximately 50 new permanent homes with support services for people who are marginalized and experiencing homelessness.

This purchase is part of an ongoing commitment, working closely with the City of Victoria, to build housing solutions for those in need and is one of six new projects that will deliver more than 280 permanent supportive homes for people experiencing homelessness across the Capital region.

Housing with supports

Supportive housing is a self-contained studio home with various support services provided on-site, to help people achieve and maintain housing stability. Supports could include:

  • outreach workers
  • life skills training
  • employment assistance
  • connection and referral to community services and support groups.

Many of the people who will move into Meares Street have been living successfully in the temporary shelters leased in Victoria. Staff would be on-site 24/7 working with each resident to understand their needs and goals.

Applicants will go through an assessment process to make sure there is a mix of residents with the right supports. All residents will pay rent and sign a program agreement (similar to a tenancy agreement).

Development Process

BC Housing and the local municipalities agree it is necessary to expedite the process to provide permanent supportive homes as soon as possible for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. We are taking this approach because we recognize our most valuable citizens are facing distinct risk through the COVID-19 pandemic and there is an immediate need in the Capital region to provide permanent supportive homes as soon as possible.

This means moving forward as efficiently as possible to create new healthy, safe and stable homes for those in need of housing. Therefore, BC Housing will be moving straight to the construction phase. BC Housing is working closely with the municipalities throughout the development process.

Community Engagement

We will be engaging the community at various points throughout the development and setting up a community advisory committee to support future operations.

Community dialogue sessions

To ensure that everyone has an opportunity to learn more, ask questions and provide feedback, we will be hosting two Neighbourhood Dialogue Sessions. During these sessions we will share information about this project, hear from the community about how we can work together to integrate this into the community, and how this housing will support people in the community who are at risk or currently experiencing homelessness.   

These facilitated sessions will begin with a presentation to share information on the project, small break out groups to hear from attendees, followed by a question-and-answer period.  

Please sign up for one of the following sessions (space is limited):  

Your feedback and comments are important to us

We welcome questions and comments below in the Q&A tool or by email to communityrelations@bchousing.org.

Have a question or comment? Write below.

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  • How do you justify spending millions in taxpayer dollars to acquire prime real estate for supporting housing that is unaffordable for the working class? So many hard-working individuals that contribute to the Victoria economy and community must live further away and are forced to spend time, energy and money to commute to work – how is this fair? There are already numerous supporting housing projects near downtown and its obvious how their occupants have eroded the cleanliness, safety and sense of community in the downtown core. Why not build supportive housing in an area that has lower land value so you can use the savings towards more density and provide those occupants transit passes so they can commute just like the rest of the working class?

    RM asked 26 days ago

    Hi RM

    BC Housing has an extensive research centre on our website that is publicly accessible. Here you’ll find links to studies from provincial and federal agencies, as well as BC Housing’s own research. If there is a particular research topic at top of mind, let me know and I can direct you. 

    You may find the resources below of particular interest, as they relate to your questions.

    The responses on this Let’s Talk page also discuss criteria for site selection. 

    BC Housing will be hosting two Neighbourhood Dialogue Sessions in mid-May. These facilitated sessions will begin with a presentation to share an update on the project, small break out groups to hear from attendees, followed by a question-and-answer period.  

    If you are interested, please sign up for one of the following sessions:

    May 19: 2:30pm – 4:00pm 
     May 20: 5:30pm - 7:00pm

    For more information on the project please visit: https://letstalkhousingbc.ca/victoria-meares. If you have any questions, please email communityrelations@bchousing.org 

  • Are you still planning to do some community engagement? I'm a generally supportive neighbour but there's a crew on site today and very little information has been shared. It's hard to address those neighbours among us who have fears and distrust about this project when there are no solid answers to give them.

    Supportive Neighbour asked about 1 month ago

    BC Housing will be hosting two Neighbourhood Dialogue Sessions in mid-May. 

    These facilitated sessions will begin with a presentation to share information on the project, small break out groups to hear from attendees, followed by a question-and-answer period.  

    Please sign up for one of the following sessions:

    May 19: 2:30pm – 4:00pm
    May 20: 5:30pm - 7:00pm

    For more information on the project please visit: https://letstalkhousingbc.ca/victoria-meares. If you have any questions, please email communityrelations@bchousing.org. 

  • Hello and thanks for the good work you are all doing on creating positive communication channels and reliable public information regarding supportive housing. There is an urgent need for it and the work you do is appreciated. I do have a comment or question regarding the decisions made in locating new supportive units, realizing that availability of property is a difficult and expensive issue. However, all the information I have received regarding the Meares St. and other upcoming developments refers to partnerships formed throughout the Capital Regional District. Despite that regional focus in the literature, I am somewhat dismayed to note that out of 283 proposed supportive units, 192 are located within the City of Victoria, fully 68% of the planned developments. Despite the verbiage about regional planning, it appears that the City is doing a great deal of the heavy lifting on locating supportive housing and it would be nice to see a more equitable distribution of units throughout the CRD, other factors notwithstanding. And although I am fully in support of providing better solutions for people who are struggling with street life and poor to non-existent housing, I also share with my neighbours a desire for a harmonious mix of housing types here and elsewhere in the downtown core. I feel somewhat apprehensive that we may be moving away from that, especially as the Cathedral and Harris Green neighbourhoods already have a number of supportive developments. Perhaps you can provide some information about what, if anything, is being done to encourage other core communities to share in providing solutions and more specifically, housing developments that support those less fortunate than ourselves. Many thanks, RC

    RC asked about 1 month ago

    Hi RC

    Thanks for taking the time to reach out and share your positive feedback. It is much appreciated. 

    BC Housing engages and collaborates with non-profit societies, for-profit organizations, faith groups, owners of existing housing, Indigenous groups, federal and local governments and others to locate, secure and re-purpose available land, and is responsible for undertaking in-depth feasibility, due diligence and risk analyses to ensure that transactions are successful and meet project objectives.

    People experiencing homelessness are already a part of our community; our goal is to help them find safe and stable housing in the community and bring them inside from the streets. As you’re aware, the City of Victoria is experiencing many challenges with homelessness, including various encampments. 

    Supportive housing locations are determined based on proximity to services, amenities, and availability of property. Housing for people experiencing homelessness needs to meet people where they are at, providing connection to the resources that people need to work towards living a healthy, stable life. 

    The addition of supportive and affordable housing is critical for Victoria as shown through Point-In-Time count research, but there are a number of additional initiatives underway for the CRD, as well. At the end of March, the BC government announced details of the $13.1 million federal Rapid Housing Initiative allocation for the CRD, which will create up to 91 new affordable homes. The CRD is working in partnership with the Province, through BC Housing, and the Districts of Saanich and Central Saanich to deliver up to 91 new homes with 24/7 wraparound supports for people experiencing and at risk of homelessness.

    I hope this provides you with some additional information and context. Let us know if you have additional questions

  • What is the status of complaints and prospective date of completion?

    Nj asked 6 months ago

    The project is still in early planning stages. We have been receiving valuable input from community members while putting together a proposal to submit to the City. Once a proposal is in place in early 2021, BC Housing will engage with the community further to share more information about the plans and seek input into design. If the project proceeds, construction could begin at the end of 2021 and operating in 2022.  

  • Hi Heidi, After three years patiently living next door to 844 Johnson St, I was able to move to the Mosiac building on the Meares St side and have since been enjoying INCREDIBLE peace and quiet. You cannot imagine my distress to find out this horror show is following me to my new location. I could request that you provide parking for ambulances, police and drug dealers so they don't use the small space outside our building; I'd also request that you hire better security than Paladin and put in some restrictions to prevent residents from keeping and breeding pitbulls. Ask them not to take food from the cafteria outside in styrofoam containers which end up strewn everywhere along with the dogshit. I realise this will be managed by PHS so have no great expectations. As before, these requests will prove a waste of time. So all I can really beg of you is to NOT CUT DOWN THE TREES. Please, if you do nothing else, keep those trees on the lot. Thank you in advance.

    Rosalinde asked 6 months ago

    Thank you for reaching out and sharing your concerns with us. The Province recognizes the immediate need to provide secure housing for people experiencing and at risk of homelessness in the City of Victoria, which is why we purchased the Meares Street properties. We want this new investment in housing for Victoria to be successful and your comments and suggestions are important to us. 

    We are in the early stages of planning this project, so design features such as parking and landscaping have not been determined but will absolutely be considered as part of the design plan and will share your suggestions with the development team. 

    A non-profit operator has not yet been selected. We are in the process of putting together a proposal for this site and once we have a preliminary design ready – potentially early 2021 – we will be reaching out to the community with our proposal and will invite further feedback at that time.

    We know that we are facing many challenges with respect to housing, homelessness, and health in our communities. The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant health and safety concerns for our province’s most vulnerable and we all have a role to play in creating safe and inclusive communities. 

  • Hi! I am fully supportive of this development, but live right across the street and am wondering if you could give a ballpark for how many floors the building will have? One of the reasons I wanted to purchase a studio home here was for the beautiful light and I'm concerned that this will disappear- as will the value of my apartment without it!

    Lisa99 asked 6 months ago

    Thank you for your question, and for your support of new supportive housing on Meares Street.

    We are early in the planning stages for this project. A proposal is in the process of being developed for the future supportive housing plans. A further review of community plans and zoning requirements will be completed as part of the building design.

     Once we have a preliminary design ready – potentially early 2021 – we will be reaching out again to the community with our proposal and will invite further feedback. We are in the process of gathering information and we will be sure to pass your comments along to the design team.

    We have heard concerns over property values in relation to supportive housing developments. BC Housing commissioned a research study which showed property values immediately surrounding supportive housing sites in BC kept pace or surpassed municipal trends. You can learn more about the research at BC Housing’s Research Centre.

    New purpose-built supportive homes can be designed with the neighbourhood aesthetic in mind. To see some photos, check out the supportive housing case study overview.

  • What is the criteria to apply to be a resident of this supportive housing?

    Sue123 asked 8 months ago

    Someone may be eligible for Supportive Housing if:

    • They are a low-income adult
    • They are homeless or at risk of homelessness
    • They require supports with mental health and/or substance abuse
    • They need support services that can help maintain a successful tenancy


    You can find out all about our criteria and the application process here on our website.

  • As a neighbour, I'm strongly supportive of this housing development. However, I'm concerned that you are (1) planning to outsource support to an NGO - why can't the Province take full responsibility and accept potential liability and do this more efficiently?, (2) the potential use of 'outreach workers' (what training do they need to have?) instead of professional social workers.

    ALS asked 8 months ago

    Thank you for your interest and support for new permanent supportive housing in Victoria. BC Housing will issue an “Expression of Interest” to secure a non-profit housing operator who would manage the day-to-day operation of the building and provide support to residents. BC Housing partners with non-profit housing providers that already have extensive experience in working with and supporting people experiencing homelessness. Providing the right care and support is critical to ensuring success for residents and the integration of the new building into the community.

    The housing operator will ensure that all staff have the appropriate training and skills necessary to support the clients. The required training, as required by BC Housing, includes, but is not limited to crisis prevention training; first Aid/CPR; mental health first aid training; domestic violence and safety planning; substance use awareness and safety training; and trauma-informed training.

    In addition to the housing operator staff, we partner with Island Health and other community partners to offer professional health supports to the residents on site such as access to addiction and mental health referrals if required. Services and referrals will be provided both onsite as well as appropriate referrals to off-site services.

  • Can this new supportive housing at 1053 and 1075 Meares St, please be for seniors 55+ only. That way, if it’s for seniors, this new proposal of housing will fit well into this neighborhood. Thanks, Linda Hanson

    Linda Hanson asked 8 months ago

    Dear Linda,

    Thanks for writing to us. BC Housing and the housing operator collaborate with local service providers on a thoughtful and thorough assessment process to ensure an appropriate mix of residents with the right supports live in the housing.  Every potential resident is considered on an individual basis to ensure that the housing and services provided by the program match the support services that they need. People who apply to live here would need to meet eligibility requirements around income, homelessness and required supports and programming. Residents may indeed be seniors, or people with disabilities, or people who have employment but no housing, as an example. All of these variables will be considered in the interest of creating a balanced, mixed tenancy that will support successful operation. 

  • Will you be cleaning up drug paraphernalia in the neighbourhood surrounding the new project? If so how many blocks radius will the cleanup include?

    Leslie asked 8 months ago

    Hi Leslie, 

    We are committed to building a safe community both inside and outside the proposed permanent, purpose-built supportive housing. The new building would have staff onsite 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to ensure that residents are supported and that any concerns about the surrounding property are addressed in the timely manner. Both staff and residents will be committed to keeping the property and neighbourhood maintained with a daily clean-up, just as any other resident in the neighbourhood. In addition, many of our housing sites have Clean Teams who do cleaning in the neighbourhood.

    A Community Advisory Committee (CAC) will be established that will oversee the supportive housing’s integration within the community and will address any concerns raised by people in the neighbourhood.