Victoria – Meares St. Proposed Supportive Housing

Illustrative example of supportive housing building


The Province, through BC Housing, has purchased 1053 and 1075 Meares Street in Victoria with the intention of building up to 50 new permanent homes with support services for people who are marginalized and experiencing homelessness.

This purchase is part of an ongoing commitment to build housing solutions for those in need in Victoria, in partnership with the City of Victoria, and local housing and service providers. Now more than ever we understand the importance of housing – COVID-19 has clearly illustrated that we all deserve a home, and we all need to work together.

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. Staff would be on-site 24/7 working with each resident to understand their needs and goals. An experienced non-profit housing partner will be selected to manage the proposed building.

Your feedback and comments are important to us; therefore a proposal will be developed in the coming months. You will be invited to provide input and comments on design plans, and how we can work together to successfully integrate this new housing into the community.

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

Community Advisory Committee

If the proposal is approved, BC Housing would set up a new Community Advisory Committee to:

  • Build and maintain positive relationships amongst the community, the building operators and the program partners;
  • Facilitate information sharing and dialogue;
  • Identify and resolve any issues, opportunities and concerns related to building operations.



The Province, through BC Housing, has purchased 1053 and 1075 Meares Street in Victoria with the intention of building up to 50 new permanent homes with support services for people who are marginalized and experiencing homelessness.

This purchase is part of an ongoing commitment to build housing solutions for those in need in Victoria, in partnership with the City of Victoria, and local housing and service providers. Now more than ever we understand the importance of housing – COVID-19 has clearly illustrated that we all deserve a home, and we all need to work together.

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. Staff would be on-site 24/7 working with each resident to understand their needs and goals. An experienced non-profit housing partner will be selected to manage the proposed building.

Your feedback and comments are important to us; therefore a proposal will be developed in the coming months. You will be invited to provide input and comments on design plans, and how we can work together to successfully integrate this new housing into the community.

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

Community Advisory Committee

If the proposal is approved, BC Housing would set up a new Community Advisory Committee to:

  • Build and maintain positive relationships amongst the community, the building operators and the program partners;
  • Facilitate information sharing and dialogue;
  • Identify and resolve any issues, opportunities and concerns related to building operations.


Have a question or comment? Write below.

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  • 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 19 days 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 19 days 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 20 days 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. 

  • I live on Meares in an apartment complex. There’s some signage floating around about a “homeless shelter” going up in the neighborhood perhaps by some NIMBYers or a building owner. For the record I think this is an incredible initiative and fully support it. Just giving you a heads up in order to get ahead of the “homeless shelter” narrative.

    Hordi Asked 23 days ago

    Dear Hordi,

    We appreciate your interest and thank you for writing to us. We are committed to listening to and addressing neighbouring concerns. You are correct, the new purpose-built, permanent supportive housing being proposed is not a homeless shelter. It will provide needed homes for people who are experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness in the community. While emergency shelters play a critical role in community service by offering access to food and a temporary bed or mat overnight to bring people indoors to get warm, supportive housing provides a home as well as 24/7 onsite support services. 

  • i would like a clarification on what supportive housing means? is Pauls motor inn or the supportive housing? and is Pandora st. "supportive housing" ? I have worked very hard to acquire the small building at 1026 Meares st. and I do not want any more of my tax dollars spent on housing the homeless. it is unfair that i have had to work as hard as i have, to live in one of the most expensive cites in Canada and others get free housing. i grew up in this town and some days i want to move because it is so expensive to live here. what are you doing for me? the taxpayer, to make it easier for me and my family? I feel that we get penalized for working hard, not getting addicted to drugs, paying an outrageous amount of tax, and we just sit there and watch as a small minority get the most attention and funding. I do believe that we should help people that want help and are wiling to put in the work for it. Handing out cash and housing is breading complacency. Make work for people and give people jobs...not money! thank you Mark Adamson

    mark adamson Asked 23 days ago

    Hi Mark, thanks for sharing your concerns with us.

    The new purpose-built supportive housing being proposed is different than the temporary housing secured at Paul’s Motor Inn, of which the primary purpose was to provide a quick and secure housing solution for those who need a safe place to stay in the immediate future, and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The new permanent, supportive housing will have self-contained studio homes with supports provided on-site, to ensure people can achieve and maintain housing stability. Residents in supportive housing have made a choice to live there and are able to access the services provided by non-profit housing operators, such as life-skills training, and connections to primary health care, mental health and/or substance use services. People who apply to live here would need to meet eligibility requirements around income, homelessness and required supports and programming. Residents will sign a program agreement and pay rent.

    People who experience homelessness are as varied as any other neighbour. They may be seniors, people with disabilities, people who have employment but no housing, people who are working through mental health concerns and/or substance use. All residents in supportive housing have made a choice to work towards living a healthy, stable life

  • How many floors is the building expected to have?

    JG Asked 23 days ago

    As we are in early in the planning process, designs for the new permanent supportive housing have not yet been determined. BC Housing is in the process of putting together a proposal for the site, including a review of the Official Community Plan. More information will be shared on the Let’s Talk website when it becomes available.

  • Why is this proposal even going forward, given it is three times the density of surrounding housing? Why is this area of Victoria hosting a disproportionate amount of special needs housing compared to the rest of the Capital Region where land costs are lower?

    Lael Asked 24 days ago

    BC Housing worked in collaboration with the City of Victoria to locate a suitable property for supportive housing, and the sites were identified by the City. BC Housing looks to acquire property based on community need and there is an urgent need for more housing in downtown Victoria. 

    Supportive housing locations are determined based on services, amenities and availability of property. The suitability of supportive housing sites is considered with respect to proximity to community services (health services, commercial and recreational activities); accessibility to transit; adequate lot size; connections to utilities; compatible land use policies. 

    Since March, BC Housing has opened eight new sites with 505 spaces for vulnerable people in Victoria, including those who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness, so they have a safe place of their own and can maintain physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are also approximately 430 new homes underway right now in the CRD for people with low incomes through provincial funding programs.

  • I hope that the supports planned for these Mears Street buildings will truly help people and be more than just a roof over their heads. We see so many problems associated with the hotels that have recently been purchased as well as 844 Johnson. I don't mind paying higher taxes if we could actually provide supports and services that will help (comprehensive mental health care and addictions treatement etc). But so far, the solutions that we've seen really haven't seemed to do much.

    christinam Asked 24 days ago

    Absolutely, supportive housing is much more than a roof over people’s heads. The new purpose-built supportive housing being proposed will have self-contained studio homes with supports provided on-site, to ensure people can achieve and maintain housing stability. Shared amenity space typically includes a commercial kitchen, dining room, laundry room, a lounge and a medical room. To get a better sense of what is being proposed, we invite you to watch the video of new supportive housing built in Parksville. In addition, BC Housing has done extensive research on the community benefits of supportive housing. Check out our factsheet with more information.

    There are a variety of potential support services as each resident may require different support. All residents receive individualized case planning to further develop life and social skills such as employment planning and managing the transition to independence and recovery. We partner with health authorities to ensure staff are regularly onsite to provide a range of inpatient and outpatient services to building residents, encompassing  mental health and substance use, primary care, and public health services. Services and referrals will be provided both onsite as well as appropriate referrals to off-site services.