The homeless population is at a high risk for contracting COVID-19. B.C. Housing plans to use SEAPARC Leisure Complex as an emergency space for up to 45 homeless people needing to self-isolate during the coronvirus outbreak. (Kendra Crighton - Black Press Media)

The homeless population is at a high risk for contracting COVID-19. B.C. Housing plans to use SEAPARC Leisure Complex as an emergency space for up to 45 homeless people needing to self-isolate during the coronvirus outbreak. (Kendra Crighton - Black Press Media)

Sooke rec centre to provide self-isolation space for homeless people

B.C. Housing still developing operating plan, expects to welcome homeless soon

SEAPARC Leisure Complex will be used as an emergency space for up to 45 homeless people needing to self-isolate during the coronavirus outbreak.

The shelter will be operated by the Sooke Region Communities Health Network, in collaboration with B.C. Housing, regional health authorities and municipal governments, who have worked on developing a community response plan for the pandemic.

The temporary shelter at the SEAPARC Leisure Complex will aim to provide housing and the ability to self-isolate for Sooke’s homeless population, or residents at risk of homelessness.

“This is being set up as a temporary transitional stabilization unit, intending to do coordinated assessments of everyone coming in to the shelter, determining where they are at and what resources they need, in order to be successful in self isolating,” said Jen Wilde, homelessness programs coordinator, for the Sooke Region Communities Health Network, and director of operations for the COVID-19 response isolation shelter in Sooke.

RELATED: Concerns rise for Greater Victoria’s homeless population during COVID-19

Wilde said before this plan was set in place, the SRCHN reached out to the Sooke homeless population, assessed what the need was in Sooke, and based its plan off that.

“In in order for these people to have basic needs met, for things like food, washrooms, or shelter, people who are homeless need to wander here, there and everywhere in order to find all those pieces,” Wilde said.

“We are providing them an opportunity to self isolate, so they can meet the requirements of the local health authorities. These people are the most at risk for contracting the virus, and if it did get in to the local homeless population it would spread like wildfire.”

Aside from staff, Wilde said there will be multiple resource agencies on the site, providing services and support to the individuals using the facility, including the Sooke Shelter Society, AVI Health and Community Services Society, and nurses. It is expected that the arena will be set up to welcome guests “in the next week or two.”

“The idea behind this operation is that people will come in, we will stabilize them, asses their needs, and reallocate them to appropriate resources,” Wilde said.

“Sooke has really stepped up for this. We have a really strong network of organizations and municipal support to make sure that even during a pandemic, we have the capacity to support the most vulnerable community members.”

Al Beddows, Sooke councillor and chair of the SEAPARC commission, said there is spots to accommodate 45 people: 30 spots indoors on the arena floor, as well as 15 outdoor spots.

The emergency response centre is set to be operational until June 30.

“The space is vacant now, just sitting idle, so during these trying times we have to try and find a way to make things work, and keep everyone safe and distanced,” Beddows said.

“Right now the mandate is for everyone to stay at home, and this population (the homeless) doesn’t generally stick to one geographical location. So this gives them a place to stay until the pandemic blows over, so they can stay safe, and also not spread the virus by wandering place to place.”

Beddows said there’s some small concerns for the facility, but as a crew will be at the facility day and night, monitoring and helping out, he trusts it’s in good hands.

“We have to do our part to keep everyone safe, and there is a group looking after the place that will deal with any concerns when, and if, they arise,” said Beddows.



editor@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusHomelessSooke

Just Posted

Steve Mann and Tim Hackett consider Marigold Lands their finest development. (Rendering courtesy Marigold Lands)
Marigold residences grow more townhouses and condos in Central Saanich

50 condos, 14 townhouses up next for project adjacent to Pat Bay Highway

Norman Mogensen sets up strings for his beans in his plot in the Oak Bay community gardens. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)
Oak Bay gardener spends decades cultivating, improving daddy’s beans

85-year-old vegan part of the community gardens scene

The Pool at the Esquimalt Rec Centre. (Courtesy of theTownship of Esquimalt/ Facebook)
Esquimalt Rec Centre restarting everyone welcome swim times later this month

The 90-minute sessions will be on select evenings and weekends

Theatre SKAM is offering mobile, pop-up performances to Greater Victoria residents once again this summer. They’ll feature emerging artists Yasmin D’Oshun, Courtney Crawford, Kaelan Bain and Kendra Bidwell (left to right). (Courtesy of Theatre SKAM)
Theatre performances can be ordered to Greater Victoria front yards this summer

Theatre SKAM offering mobile, pop-up performances once again

Diana Durrand and Arlene Nesbitt celebrate the new artist space in 2014. Gage Gallery moves this summer from Oak Bay to Bastion Square in Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Gage Gallery moving to Bastion Square

Vivid Connections, a showcase by Laura Feeleus and Elizabeth Carefoot, opens new venue June 29

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read