Katy Corfe and David Desrochers, residents at Orca Place in Parksville, hoist a mug at the Island Crisis Care Society-managed property. The society invites the public to drop by Bradley’s Bistro on Thursdays between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. to chat about Orca Place, hear some success stories and have your questions answered.

Hear Orca Place success stories, bring your questions

Operators host coffee chats on Thursday afternoons in downtown Parksville

Some amazing things are happening down at Orca Place in Parksville.

To share the good news, Island Crisis Care Society (ICCS), which operates the 52-unit supportive housing residence, hosts ongoing coffee chats every Thursday afternoon from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. at Bradley’s Bistro on Jensen Avenue. That’s just a stone’s throw from this unique modular housing building.

“We opened last August and we want to let people know how things are going and answer any questions they may have,” says Violet Hayes, the society’s executive director. “We invite anyone to come and sit down with us to learn more about our residents’ positive stories.”

Giving Oceanside residents stability

Part of a larger network of support services provided by ICCS in Oceanside and Nanaimo, Orca Place is for local residents who need a hand up, Hayes says. Applicants must have been living in the Oceanside area for at least a year previous, and many were surviving in desperate situations.

“These are people, someone’s son or daughter or sister, they’re people who are in our community. We’ve housed people who were living in their vehicles, or tents, or in units that were very unsafe or unsanitary.”

Moving people forward

Creating affordable, transitional homes for people living in poverty, recovering from addiction or struggling to find regular accommodation has allowed 52 people to settle in to stable housing where they can make plans for the next stage of their lives, Hayes says. “It’s about giving someone the joy of a decent space to lay their heads and spend time.”

To keep things affordable, ICCS provides a morning and evening meal and charges $375 a month for rent – the shelter maximum for an employable single individual under 65 receiving income assistance. Together, ICCS and residents also create a support plan which includes setting personal goals such as job search or other healthy activities.

Looking to give back to community?

If you’re looking to volunteer and have a skill you’d like to share with Orca Place residents, from crafting or exercise activities to providing haircuts, connect with ICCS today! Stop by Bradley’s on Jensen on Thursday afternoons between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m., email office@iccare.ca with details or visit the ICCS volunteer page.

And if you have other questions about Orca Place, members of the ICCS team will be on hand at Bradley’s. Find other news about ending homelessness on the ICCS Facebook page.

Related story: Orca Place residents move in starting Aug. 19


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