Work begins on new Victoria home for at-risk women

An architect's rendering of the Anawim Companion Society Women’s House in Victoria. (Submitted)

The Anawim Companion Society has broken ground on a new housing facility that will provide a safe haven for Greater Victoria women who are at risk of homelessness or who are fleeing violence.

The project has been a dream of the society for many years and was made possible thanks to a generous donor who donated the land where the home will be located. Funding for the construction of the new home is supported by Aryze Developments, the Victoria Foundation and individual donors.

“There are very few facilities that are just women only,” said Anawim Companion Society president Dan Greco. “Women have unique challenges and traumas that are specific to them and this is a very much needed service that’s lacking in Victoria right now.”

The new two-storey house is located in Victoria and will offer seven private rooms. Each resident will have their own private bathroom and have access to a communal kitchen and living spaces.

“The design of the building provides security and privacy from within,” said Greco. “It allows the residents there to remain private and the angles and the viewpoints are designed so that house remains safe for the residents and offers the privacy that we feel they need.”

The residents of the home will also receive individualized one-on-one support for women who are experiencing health issues, who are in crisis due to violence or who are at risk of becoming homeless.

The Anawim Companion society believes that by offering a "family" atmosphere while building connections for its clients, it will help them regain the confidence to live their best lives.

“Our model at Anawim House is that family model where connection and relationship is the opposite of addiction or personal chaos,” said Greco. “By providing the safety and all the necessary support people need bets helps that person regain their self-confidence and to hope again.”

The society says the need is great for a secure women's-only facility. It points to the 2020 Greater Victoria Point-In-Time Homeless Count and Needs Survey that reported there were 487 women who were homeless in Victoria.

Due to the need to maintain the security requirements of the facility, the society will not be disclosing the location of the home.

“We will be in great demand and there is a huge demand out there," said Greco.

The Anawim Companion Society hopes to have construction completed and the new secure housing facility open by summer 2023.