Vancouver Island Mental Health Society has officially opened 20 spaces offering “bridge housing” in Campbell River. Bridge housing provides homeless citizens with a bed, showers and meals, as well as many of the support services found in permanent supportive housing. The province of British Columbia, through BC Housing, bought the former Rose Bowl restaurant at 1221 Cedar Street and renovated the building.
“This is such a significant purchase in Campbell River, to really support people who are experiencing homelessness as a bridge to housing, for further initiatives to come. This is a great response to homelessness during the pandemic, where housing is really a primary way to keep people safe.” — Campbell River and District Coalition to End Homelessness Coordinator Kristi Schwanicke, My Campbell River Now (July 14, 2020)
Vancouver Island Mental Health Society (VIMHS) will oversee day-to-day management of the facility. Society staff will be on-site 24/7 and will provide guests with outreach services, as well as connections and referral to health services. Once permanent supportive housing is built and residents leave the bridge housing, BC Housing will engage with the community about redeveloping the site at 1221 Cedar St. into an affordable housing project.
Image (from left to right): VIMHS staff Kevin James (Campbell River Sobering and Assessment Centre team lead), Taryn O’Flanagan (VIMHS executive director), Gillian Baker (VIMHS operations manager), and Vanessa Deminik (VIMHS housing support worker), on September 30th mark the opening day for bridge housing at 1221 Cedar Street.