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 CanadaHelps.org.

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


This week the Face-to-Face with Stigma team, a group of facilitators, storytellers and speakers led their second workshop with the Victoria Police Department.

These workshops bring together individuals with lived experience from our community trained in storytelling with The Existence Project to share their own stories through engagement and work sessions. These sessions hold a variety of goals such as ending stigma, building individual capacity and encouraging #compassion in our communities.

These workshops mark the beginning of a series of anti-stigma workshops this year targeting a variety of audiences in our region. The team is sharing the voices of youth, Indigenous and lived-experience, and are creating safe and compassionate spaces of learning, sharing and expanding.

To learn more about this exciting project email team lead and Peer Support Worker, Kay Martin at:


Check out photos from this special day below:

Initiatives recommended by Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness

Read more

Dozens gather to remember beloved Victoria panhandler with emotional memorial
Read more

Victoria task force proposes outreach team to help city’s most vulnerable
Read more

Activists battling to prevent closing of Victoria rooming house
Read more

This year the City of Victoria’s participatory budgeting process focused its theme on improving the lives of youth in our City!

Through your votes, the votes of 5,000 people in our community, Emily Jackson the Coalition’s Prevention of Youth Homelessness Coordinator and the youth group: Youth Educating and Advocating About Homelessness (#YEAH), were voted in as one of five project winners able to receive a share of 55,000$ from the City of Victoria.

Since its creation, the YEAH group has worked to better the lives of at-risk youth, inspired by their own lived experience of homelessness. Together, through youth consultations, they discovered the needs of vulnerable youth and are prepared to address them with the project, ‘“What we Need” – Youth Homelessness Prevention’.

To learn more about this exciting project click here: https://cvyc.ca/pb/what-we-need-prevention-of-youth-homelessness/

Check out photos from this special day below:

Three peninsula mayors unite in an effort to end homelessness.
Read more

Rapid and substantial progress towards a region without homelessness is in reach, says mayors
Read more

In advance of the BC General Local Elections on October 20, 2018, the Downtown Service Providers* have circulated the following questions on housing and homelessness to candidates for mayor, councillor and CRD director in all 13 municipalities of the capital regional district.

All received responses are posted in spreadsheets linked below. If there is no link for your municipality, no responses were submitted and you are encouraged to ask your candidates for their answers directly. Responses have been posted as they arrived and have not been corrected for spelling, language use, etc.



  1. What responsibility do you think local governments have to address the safety and public health hazards faced by individuals in our community who are unhoused and living on the streets or in parks?  Are there any specific actions or initiatives that you would support or oppose?
  2. What is your understanding of the barriers encountered by the Indigenous people experiencing homelessness to access secure housing, and what actions do you think municipal government can implement to assist organizations like the Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness (ACEH) to address these barriers?
  3. The Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness has made the following recommendations to regional and municipal governments in its Phase 2, Year 2 Community Plan:
    • Engage with community agencies and people with lived experience of homelessness in identifying and developing homelessness, housing and support services solutions
    • Prioritize the development of housing options for individuals experiencing and at-imminent risk of homelessness
    • Reduce the costs of developing and operating non-profit housing by reducing or waiving property taxes and municipal fees
    • Set a minimum number of affordable units to be included in each development, or set equivalent funding contributions to a municipal affordable housing fundDo you support these recommendations? If so, what specific actions are you prepared to take to implement them? If not, why not?
  4. Do you think it is acceptable at land use committee meetings or public hearings for people to ask questions about or comment on the economic or health status of individuals who may live in the developments under consideration? If yes, why? If not, what actions will you take to prevent this?
  5. What role do you think local governments should take regarding harm reduction initiatives such as Overdose Prevention Units and Supervised Consumption sites?  Are there any specific actions or initiatives that you would support or oppose?


The Downtown Service Providers Committee is comprised of service providers operating in Victoria’s downtown core, or serving populations in the downtown core, that have been meeting monthly since 2002 to share information, coordinate activities, and develop collaborative strategies to address the needs in the downtown core. Membership includes representatives of service delivery organizations, city council, city staff, police, and local businesses, as well as funding, advocacy and social policy agencies.

For information about General Local Elections, please visit the Elections BC Website.

You can contact your local civic government office to check if you are registered to vote.

In Crisis?:

If you require urgent emotional support, including having thoughts of suicide and other mental health issues, please call Vancouver Island Crisis Line: 1-888-494-3888.

Youth (under 25 years of age) may access youthspace.ca for online emotional support.

For other resources, including shelter availability, visit bc211.ca