Homeless people in the Duncan area are getting a place to shelter from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Cowichan vulnerable population task force will receive nearly 400-thousand dollars in funding to implement the first phase of its emergency response plan.

The Rapid Relief Fund, organized by the Victoria Foundation, Jawl Foundation and Times Colonist is contributing 220-thousand dollars, and BC Housing is providing 172-thousand dollars to support the plan.

Task force chair, John Horn of the Cowichan Housing Association, says the money will be used to create temporary accommodations for homeless individuals.

There will be services such as peer supports, site maintenance and cleaning, shower facilities, laundry services, security, portable washrooms and handwashing stations.

The funding is in response to a modified plan the task force submitted to BC Housing last week.

The task will help homeless people in the Cowichan region find a place to stay, including small-scale, “family cluster” outdoor tent sites holding no more than 12 people each.

Non of these tent sites will be located in parks.

The funding from the Victoria Foundation’s Rapid Relief Fund enables the task force to include hotel rooms, and outreach workers, food and security.

The original plan created by the task force favoured indoor sites, but local service providers were not able to provide the staff required by the province due to the impact of COVID-19 on the workforce.

Set up will begin immediately and phase one of the plan is funded until June 30, 2020.