VICTORIA, BC – Anawim Companions Society has officially broken ground on its new Women’s House in Victoria, BC following the success of the Men’s House, which has helped hundreds of residents since opening its doors in 1991.
The project, a dream of Anawim’s for many years, was kick started by an incredibly generous person who donated her property outright for this very purpose. From there, Aryze Development, with their extensive development and construction expertise, greatly helped Anawim navigate the rezoning and permitting process. Along with Aryze providing their services at cost, Anawim also received additional support from the City of Victoria’s Housing Reserve Fund, the Carole and Clint Forster Foundation at the Victoria Foundation, the Sisters of St. Ann, many construction suppliers, local Churches, and countless other donors. It has truly been a Greater Victoria community wide collaborative effort to get this long-needed project off the ground.
The new Women’s House will feature seven private rooms with partial bathrooms, a communal kitchen and communal living spaces. “There are shelter spaces in Victoria for women, but maybe not a home like ours that also provides individualized one on one support, meeting the person where they are at. We strongly believe that replicating a family atmosphere, while fostering connection, can best help the person regain their confidence to live their best life,” says Dan Greco, President of Anawim Companions Society. “Thanks to the generous contributions of our donors and the great support from Mayor Helps, Council, and the City of Victoria staff, we have officially begun construction on this long-needed facility, one where we can help those who want to be helped, one person at a time”
Incorporating Anawim House’s established ‘Family Model’ approach, the Women’s House will be able to provide a safe home to women at risk of homelessness due to poverty, fleeing violence or various health issues. Anawim emphasizes everyone’s individual responsibility to contribute to a healthy, productive living environment; the same expectations you would have of your own family. Each resident is expected to participate in the functions of the home by learning the life skills they will need beyond the front door.
“Groundbreaking is a big milestone for any project, but this project is especially close to our hearts,” says Luke Mari, principal at Aryze. “We are honoured to support Anawim throughout this process in building a safe and secure women’s housing facility for those who need it most.”
The project is also supported through the Carole and Clint Forster Foundation, a fund held at the Victoria Foundation. “This continues a proud history of support with Anawim House,” says Sandra Richardson, CEO of the Victoria Foundation. “This project is integral in providing supports for women in our community and helping create a vibrant, caring community for all.”
In 2020, the Greater Victoria Point-In-Time Homeless Count & Needs Survey reported 487 homeless women in the city, and of those, 243 were in transitional housing, a hotel or someone else’s home. Not only will Anawim’s Women’s House provide safe transitional housing support for women looking to make a meaningful change in their lives, it will also strive to provide residents a sense of community and belonging.
About Anawim Companions Society
Anawim’s mission statement has always been to help those who want to be helped. We are a substance free facility that provides for those basic needs and security to which every individual is entitled. What we provide, above all, is a home people can come to and feel safe and cared for, while being a part of something bigger. We do our best to provide that feeling of being part of a family, because we firmly believe connection is the opposite of addiction or personal chaos. By building a trusting relationship with the person, and setting them up with personalized supports, we believe we are setting the person up for success.
About Aryze Developments
Aryze is an integrated home building, development and urban planning team committed to increasing the quality of homes and communities in Victoria, BC. With a focus on innovation across a full spectrum of housing types, Aryze works with some of Canada’s most acclaimed architects to deliver creative urban infill developments built in established neighbourhoods you already know and love.
Combining traditional building methods, innovative construction technologies and intelligent design, Aryze is committed to constructing diverse housing for all. This approach to home building allows new households to form, young families to grow and downsizers to stay in their community.
About the Victoria Foundation
Established in 1936, the Victoria Foundation is Canada’s second oldest community foundation and the sixth largest of nearly 200 nation-wide. The Victoria Foundation manages charitable gifts from donors whose generosity allows them to create permanent, income-earning funds. The proceeds from these funds are then distributed as grants for charitable or educational purposes. To date the Victoria Foundation has invested over $269 million in people, projects and non-profit organizations that strengthen communities in BC and throughout Canada.