People who are living in supportive housing in the Capital Regional District (CRD) will have opportunities to become healthier and learn new skills, following the purchase of Woodwyn Farms by the Province, through BC Housing, for use as a therapeutic-recovery community.
“The purchase of Woodwynn Farms means we can provide more services for people living in supportive housing who will benefit from access to extended therapeutic care,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “This type of support is proven to increase people’s ability to maintain their housing, and eventually move on to independent living.”
BC Housing will work with the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions and the District of Central Saanich to develop a long-term plan for operating the property. This plan will identify future supports that are in line with, and respectful of, the agricultural and historical importance of the land. They will also comply with its Agricultural Land Reserve designation and associated land-use bylaws.
The vision for the property includes providing a therapeutic environment for people experiencing mental-health challenges and substance-use issues. The property will serve supportive housing projects in the CRD by providing opportunities for people to work on the farm, giving them a meaningful purpose, and better connections to their community.
There will not be housing on the site. However, BC Housing will work with the District of Central Saanich and housing providers in the CRD to make this opportunity available to supportive-housing tenants.
“Providing people with a secure home, a supportive community and a sense of value is so important to the journey of recovery,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “This initiative is another example of the diverse supports coming together to address substance-use and mental-health issues in our province.”
Located at 7779 West Saanich Rd. in Saanichton, the site provides the opportunity to partner with the municipality and local, community-based organizations. This will complement work already being done through supportive housing, such as social inclusion, job training, employment, income and increased self-worth.
In the short term, BC Housing will use a farm manager to directly oversee the farm.
Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands –
“I welcome this government’s ability to find an innovative solution to enhance the agricultural activity on this critically important farm in the Saanich Peninsula. By maintaining the use of this property as a therapeutic community, government can provide meaningful social inclusion and employment opportunities to those most in need.”
Don Evans, executive director, Our Place Society –
“This property offers an exciting healing opportunity for people struggling with mental-health and substance-use issues. A recovery-oriented therapeutic model, grounded in farming the land, will be a tremendous resource for our community.”
- A capital budget of approximately $6.9 million was approved to purchase the site. This includes $5.8 million for the purchase of the land (appraised value $6 million), and renovations, fees and soft costs of $1.1 million.
- The approach to a therapeutic-recovery community complements the work that BC Housing is doing within the Building BC: Rapid Response to Homelessness program, and associated 24/7 supports: https://www.bchousing.org/partner-services/major-projects/rapid-response-homelessness
- The purchase of Woodywnn Farms follows the announcement in May 2018 of Our Place Society’s therapeutic-recovery community in View Royal: news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018MMHA0026-000907
Read Homes for B.C., government’s 30-point plan to address housing affordability for British Columbians: bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2018/homesbc/2018_Homes_For_BC.pdf
To find out what the Province is doing to improve housing affordability, visit: news.gov.bc.ca/factsheets/bc-government-addressing-housing-affordability-challenges
The Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions was created in 2017 to improve the access and quality of mental health and addictions services for all British Columbians: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/organizational-structure/ministries-organizations/ministries/mental-health-addictions