Two sites, 50 spaces for homeless, others to self-isolate in Kamloops amid pandemic

BC Housing, which is working with both levels of government in finding self-isolation spaces for the homeless and other vulnerable people living in communal locations, said it is not naming the locations so the facilities can operate privately and focus on helping people

The provincial and local governments have secured 900 spaces at 23 sites across B.C., including Kamloops, for people to self-isolate and reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The sites include hotels, motels and community centres throughout B.C.

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In Kamloops, there are two sites, offering a combined 50 spaces.

BC Housing, which is working with both levels of government in finding self-isolation spaces for the homeless and other vulnerable people living in communal locations, said it is not naming the locations so the facilities can operate privately and focus on helping people.

Some hotels are reserved specifically for people who have COVID-19 and need a place to self-isolate while they recover. Other spaces are for patients being discharged from hospitals who do not have COVID-19 and who do not need emergency care, but who still require ongoing health care.

In addition to the more than 900 spaces secured to date, more rooms have been identified in communities throughout the province to be able to expand capacity if a need is identified by health authorities.

Non-profit societies with experience working with vulnerable populations will oversee the day-to-day management of the hotels, motels and community centre spaces.

Staff will be on site regularly and will provide daily meals and cleaning services, while health-care workers will also be available.

According to a City of Kamloops report, a committee called the Vulnerable Population Planning Committee has been struck.

The city is working with Interior Health, BC Housing and social agencies — including the Canadian Mental Health Association, Interior Community Services, the Kamloops and District Elizabeth Fry Society and the Kamloops Aboriginal Friendship Society — on a housing plan for vulnerable people during the COVID-19 crisis, with the goal of reducing risk of transmission of the virus among the homeless and fear among workers.

“Sheltering and social housing agencies are facing significant challenges in ensuring that clients are able and willing to self-isolate,” the report states. “This means there is a higher risk of transmission to other individuals if someone in a shelter becomes ill with the virus.”

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