The new bridge housing project going into the former Rosebowl restaurant has had over four times as many applicants as it can take.
The facility is expected to be open in approximately two weeks, according to Taryn O’Flanagan, the executive director of the Vancouver Island Mental Health Society, which will be managing the facility.
“We’ve been going through quite an extensive renovation. We want to have it ready for residents. We are just finishing up onboarding our staffing team and are in the process of finalizing the resident selection and who’s going to live there,” she said. “We’ve had over 80 applications and probably more are coming down the pipe. It’s been really eye-opening for us about how much need there actually is for this and how many suitable people there are that fit the criteria.”
Those 80 people have filed applications through B.C. Housing. A committee now has the task of sifting through those applications to determine the 20 tenants who will be able to live in the facility. O’Flanagan explained that the decisions would be made based on three main criteria. Successful applicants will be people who have been experiencing homelessness for 12 months or longer and be from the Campbell River area and those with vulnerabilities including health and mental health issues will be prioritized.
“The community organizations have been so helpful in helping us identify folks that should be living there and really supporting this process. It’s been a community collaboration in so many senses,” O’Flanagan said. “It’s just been really great. People have been calling to see if they can help and what they can do. People have been filling out applications for clients and really making it happen.”
Around 12 of those applications have been passed out by the Kwakiutl District Council Health program’s MOUHSS (Mobile Outreach Unit for Health and Support Services) bus, which brings health and social programs to people in Campbell River who wouldn’t be able to access those services otherwise.
Staff have also been selected, and some training is expected to start next week.
Residents will have access to a private sleeping pod, which is similar to a cubicle with a bed, a side table and a private area. There will also be a common area with a TV and a place to have meals and hang out.
“We’re going to include the tenants who are selected for the project in the naming of the building,” O’Flanagan said. “We haven’t selected them yet. It’s still temporarily the Rosebowl, but it will be renamed.”