News Release

VICTORIA, BC – (March 5th, 2021) – In less than 3 months time, the citizens and local businesses of Victoria have come together to raise more than $500,000 to fund the capital expenses for 30 transitional housing units to be built from repurposed shipping containers. Set to be located at 940 Caledonia Ave., this tiny home community will provide safe, warm and secure conditions for some of our community’s most vulnerable currently sheltering outside, unhoused.

“This is the vision and commitment we have been looking for in Victoria, thank you so much for bringing help and dignity to our street populations,” said one anonymous donor. “I hope housing for the homeless is changed forever by this pandemic in a positive way; everyone deserves a roof over their head and food in their belly, ” said another.

“I want to sincerely thank everyone who has donated to this project, whether it is $25 or $25,000,” said Mayor Lisa Helps. “At this time when there is so much division around the issue of homelessness and some vocal stigma against people who are poor and living without homes in our community, it is amazing and so hopeful to see our community come together to pitch in and build homes for their neighbours.”

Once built, the transitional tiny home community will be operated by Our Place, an experienced housing provider focused on addressing the residents’ physical, mental health, addiction, housing, income and employment needs on their pathway to permanent housing.

Each unit in the community is approximately 100 sq. ft. and is fully heated, ventilated and insulated for optimal breathability and livability. Designed to include a bed, side table, desk with chair, small fridge, and an armoire, all units are move-in ready and turn-key for the residents. Shared washroom and shower facilities will be located within the enclosed community, along with storage, flex space and on-site office space for the 24/7 operations staff.

“I want to express my profound appreciation to the many members of our amazing Greater Victoria community that have supported the fundraising efforts for the Tiny Homes Project,” said Kelly Roth, Executive Director of the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness.  “The ‘Hey Neighbour’ project has provided the opportunity to demonstrate that Victoria is a place where everyone belongs and all are welcome,” said Roth.

Aryze Developments has proceeded to submit the Temporary Use Permit application, with support from Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness. Yesterday Council unanimously voted to send Hey Neighbour to Public Hearing on March 18th, which is the final step in authorizing the Temporary Use Permit.

“As homebuilders, we have a responsibility to provide diverse housing solutions for all citizens – especially our community’s most vulnerable,” said Luke Mari of Aryze Developments. “Thanks to the generous community contributions over the last few months, we are honoured to be moving into our traditional role as constructor, so the experienced team at Our Place can bring this innovative concept to life.”


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For More Information:

Clare Pugh, Communications Coordinator, Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness

Unit 211 – 611 Discovery St.

Victoria, BC V8T 5G4



Melanie Ransome, Communications Manager, Aryze Developments

1839 Fairfield Rd.

Victoria, BC, V8S 1G9

(250) 661-2619

A local developer and the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness are joining forces to raise $500,000 to convert 30 shipping containers into a temporary “tiny homes” village.

Luke Mari of Aryze Developments said he approached the coalition ­several months ago in response to the ongoing debate about people camping in city parks. The idea, he said, was to find an intermediary step between tents and permanent homes.

“We thought, what is an interim, rapid solution using existing resources?” he said. “So shipping containers. We, at Aryze, use them for our site construction offices. I was staring at this new one that we just had delivered and I was , like, ‘Why can’t someone live in there temporarily?’

“It’s waterproof. It’s fireproof. It’s heated. We can add windows to these and we can have a common shower facility. That’s really where it started.”

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, who co-chairs the coalition, embraced the idea and will help launch the “Hey Neighbour!” crowdfunding campaign for the project today on

She said “tiny home villages” have been done successfully in other ­communities. “So why not here in the middle of a pandemic where we can move people pretty rapidly from ­outside to inside in a transitional way?”

A location for the village has yet to be determined, but both Helps and Mari said it could be on either private or city-owned land as a temporary solution to the city’s homelessness issue.

“It’s not meant to be permanent,” Mari said. “What this is meant to do is buy B.C. Housing or others time to be able to school up their modular housing program or if they have to acquire another hotel or build a supportive housing project.”

He said Aryze has donated time, labour and resources to find a container supplier and develop designs that would meet fire and safety codes. Each unit would be 160 square feet with a bed, desk, hot plate, fridge and shared shower and washroom facilities.

“We can build one of these a day,” he said. “So once the assembly line is up and running, we can pound out 30 homes in a month, which is just unheard of.”

The timeline for the project hinges on how quickly the coalition is able to raise the money. “I’m hoping that by end of December we have what we need to place our order and to have people living in these by the first week of February,” Mari said.

In addition to supporting the fundraising, the Coalition to End Homelessness will work with its other partners to make sure that people who move into the tiny homes have the necessary mental health, vocational, peer and other supports they need, said Janine Theobald, inclusion and collaboration manager.

“So that might be supporting individuals who are living at the space to be part of the programming delivery itself,” she said.

Kelly Roth, executive director, said the coalition is always exploring multiple housing options for people and welcomed Aryze’s involvement. “The idea of tiny homes and the possibility of having a developer interested in actually supporting that was very exciting to us — just because it’s not something that we’d be able to do on our own,” she said.

Mari said Aryze gets labelled as a developer. “But, at the end of the day, we see ourselves as home builders, as builders of community. And how can we call ourselves home builders with people living in parks?”

Article: Developer, coalition pitch ‘tiny homes’ for homeless, using shipping containers

Source: Times Colonist


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