NIȽ TU,O ‘s partnership with Threshold Housing expands to include the design and build of a stunning, 18-unit building with Coast Salish design elements.

(Shown above: The artistic rendering of the Forest Building – a joint Threshold and NIȽ TU,O project. As you drive past the building, the cedar strips will shift from black to wood grain, a powerful effect.)

For the past 30+ years, Threshold Housing Society in Victoria has worked to prevent homelessness by providing services for at-risk youth aged 15 to 24. At Threshold, youth find community, support, understanding, and a place to call home where they are accepted for who they are. Currently, Threshold has access to 25 one bedroom units throughout the Capital Regional District.

Along with providing safe housing environments Threshold also offers clinical counseling, case management, emotional support, life skills and development, and a variety of other things that provide opportunities for youth based on wherever they’re at.

Now, Threshold is working in partnership with NIȽ TU,O  Child and Family Services Society to better serve Indigenous youth—who account for 40% of their cases. 

Executive Directors Katharina Stocker of NIȽ TU,O and Colin Tessier of Threshold are leading the charge. 

“We came together because we have aligned values and work with similar populations,” Tessier says. “It’s only been in recent years that we’ve (at Threshold) actually started to lean into what reconciliation means and what it means to provide a safe and culturally-appropriate atmosphere for the Indigenous youth we support.”

Through partnership with NIȽ TU,O, funds are provided to ensure that Coast Salish Youth have access to their housing and support services.

Tessier says now that the cultural programming is in place, the organization can’t believe they went so long without it. So far, that programming has included a wellness worker specifically assigned to Indigenous youth who helps them explore culture, community, and ceremony.

Recently, Threshold hosted an Indigenous youth festival in the backyard of one of their properties and invited the entire community to join.

Next up, the two organizations will join forces to redevelop an updated 18-unit, youth-centered housing project. The updated building is called Forrest House and the new construction will utilize traditional building practices, traditional red and black colors and other Coast Salish design elements.

“We want to design the space so that it physically looks and feels appropriate for Indigenous youth who will be there and is culturally safe and awesome to be in,” Tessier says. The partnership with NIȽ TU,O, known for providing culturally appropriate support to Coast Salish children, families and youth on South Vancouver Island will help Threshold “create a safe, stable, life-giving environment for Indigenous youth who experience the Threshold program.”

The design of the new building was inspired by a story Stocker shared with the Threshold project team; “I was walking on Oak Bay avenue, where this updated building will be. I could not help but notice that there was nothing within eyesight that represented the local Coast Salish culture. With our experience renovating the NIȽ TU,O offices, we knew how important it is to provide a culturally safe space, and that means using traditional building methods, practices and designs.” 

(Shown above: The artistic rendering of the Forrest Building – a joint Threshold and NIȽ TU,O project.)

Continues Stocker, “We are excited to partner with Threshold to help reduce the amount of unhoused Coast Salish youth, and continue to fulfill our mission of keeping our children and youth with their families and in community. These programs go a long way to counteract the ongoing harms of colonialism and return children and youth home.”

The project is currently seeking funding Donate to Threshold now.

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