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Media Release
Release Date: June 14, 2016

Camosun carpentry students are putting their skills to work to tackle homelessness in Greater Victoria. Over the past several weeks, a student team has been busy constructing an 8’x10’ micro-house for Choices Transitional Home, run by Our Place Society.

“It is a great fit for us in the Carpentry department because every Level 1 apprentice and every Foundation student needs to build a floor, walls and a roof in order to satisfy the practical competencies of the program,” says Architectural Trades chair Al van Akker. “If we build micro-houses, we will achieve all of our curricular requirements, and could make a measurable contribution to the most needy in our community.”

With appropriate funding and planning, van Akker says that Camosun Carpentry students could construct up to 100 micro-houses per year, making a tangible contribution to a long-term solution to homelessness in our community. “Right now at Choices, there are 30 tents in their courtyard. We’d like to replace those with micro-houses, which will be a lot more suitable for the wet and cold weather that will be coming in a few months.”

The micro-house solution is not a permanent one, but it can provide a bridge between a tent in a park and a permanent home. A similar initiative at Opportunity Village in Eugene, Oregon has proven successful at addressing homelessness and related issues in that community.

Choices Transitional Home in View Royal was opened by Our Place Society in February 2016 to provide housing for 50 homeless people who were previously living at the tent city on the lawn of the Provincial Courthouse downtown. The repurposed facility provides both indoor and outdoor housing options.

Camosun carpentry students in front of the prototype micro-home they constructed for Our Place Society. Architectural Trades Chair Al van Akker believes that with appropriate funding and planning, Camosun carpentry students could construct up to 100 micro-houses per year. Learn more about Camosun's carpentry program.

Our Place is a unique inner-city community centre serving Greater Victoria’s most vulnerable: working poor, impoverished elderly, mentally and physically challenged, addicted and the homeless. They serve over 1,600 meals per day and provide hot showers, free clothing, counseling and outreach services, plus 45 transitional housing units. For more information: For more information about studying Carpentry at Camosun, visit the department website.


Al van Akker
Chair, Architectural Trades
Camosun College

Last updated: June 14, 2016 2:20 pm

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