Penticton church to be used as self-isolation space for homeless amid pandemic - InfoNews

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Penticton church to be used as self-isolation space for homeless amid pandemic

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May 04, 2020 - 4:04 PM

A Penticton church will be used as an isolation centre for vulnerable people with COVID-19.

“We recognize that supports are needed in Penticton to help people experiencing homelessness during this difficult time. We are in the process of securing additional spaces for vulnerable people in the community and we’re in negotiations with local hotels,” said Samantha Cacnio, senior communications advisor with BC Housing, in an emailed statement.

BC Housing has identified five Penticton sites with 137 spaces for homeless people to self-isolate, which includes those who don’t have symptoms but are immuno-compromised or who have a high risk of contracting the virus, she said.

“The Old Victory Church has been identified as one of the facilities that could support the vulnerable population in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak by providing up to 80 spaces. At this time, there is no need to activate such a facility but supplies have been delivered to the site in the event we need to support people there,” she said in the emailed statement.

The locations of these self-isolation sites are not being disclosed, according to BC Housing’s website. “If the locations of the confirmed sites were to be released, this could jeopardize negotiations with other hotel providers,” according to the website.

Across the province, BC Housing has secured 93 sites or 2749 spaces, as of April 23. This includes 29 locations in the Interior Health region as listed here:

  • Cranbrook: two sites, 37 spaces
  • Kamloops: four sites, 110 spaces
  • Kelowna: four sites, 120 spaces
  • Nelson: four sites, 63 spaces
  • Kalein Hospice Center - 8 beds
  • Penticton: five sites, 137 spaces
  • Revelstoke: two sites, 12 spaces
  • Salmon Arm: two sites, 63 spaces
  • Trail: one site, three spaces
  • Vernon: 4 sites, 114 spaces; includes:
  • Vernon Curling Club - 70 beds
  • West Kelowna: 1 site, 20 spaces

“Part of the space identification is what is available in the community. We are working with both Kamloops and Kelowna partners to open additional sites in those communities,” Cacnio said via email.

A homeless campground in Kelowna on Recreation Avenue continues to operate at this time.

Because of COVID-19, the camping area has been expanded to allow for social distancing, there are more portable toilets and they have hand washing stations in them. The nearby Metro Church (in the same building where the Welcome Inn shelter had been) is offering laundry and shower facilities.

READ MORE: As homeless shelters close in Kelowna, Recreation Avenue campground comes back to life

The Gospel Mission, in conjunction with the Salvation Army, is providing breakfasts and dinners at Recreation Avenue. Dinners are from 5:30 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. and open to those in the community who used to go to the Mission. They will be provided in the parking lot at the Kelowna Curling Club.

Emergency winter shelters in Penticton and Kamloops are remaining open until June.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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