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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria police are asking for help locating 14-year-old, high-risk missing youth, Anabella Lilly. (Victoria Police Department)
Victoria police seek help locating high-risk missing youth

Police say the circumstances under which 14-year-old Anabella Lilly went missing are ‘high-risk’

Victoria fire crews quickly extinguished a multi-unit apartment building fire near Beacon Hill Park on Oct. 30. (Courtesy of Chief Paul Bruce)
Victoria fire crews extinguish multi-unit fire near Beacon Hill Park

Two people have suffered non-life-threatening injuries

Cat owners are being warned to keep their pets indoors after a threatening note was found posted in a North Saanich neighbourhood. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
ROAM warns Peninsula cat owners after threatening note posted in neighbourhood

Note writer doesn’t want cats pooping in their yard, threatens to trap them

Norm Scott, president of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch no. 91 in Lanford, pins the first poppy to launch the annual Poppy Campaign on George Baker, who served with the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1953 to 1989. Baker said it was an honour to be chosen for something so significant for veterans everywhere. (Rick Stiebel/News Staff)
Poppy campaign launches in Langford with pinning ceremony

The poppy campaign is officially underway with the first of the pins… Continue reading

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Allentown, Pa. on Oct. 26. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
POLL: How closely are you following the U.S. presidential election?

It may feel like it’s been going on forever but the U.S.… Continue reading

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.
VIDEO: Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder still at large from Mission Institution

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

Police service dog Herc helped RCMP locate and arrest suspects in the Ladysmith area on Oct. 23, 2020, related to a stolen vehicle. (Submitted)
RCMP nab prolific property offender in Ladysmith with assist from police dog Herc

Police attempted to stop the vehicle but it fled from the area towards Chemainus.

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Wednesday October 28, 2020. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Conversion therapy ban gets approval in principle, exposes Conservative divisions

Erin O’Toole himself voted in favour of the bill, as did most Conservative MPs

Most Read