BC Housing is providing additional funding to keep the COVID-19 homeless sheltering camps operating in the Cowichan Valley.
John Horn with BC Housing in Duncan says the funding will allow them to continue operating the encampments and renting hotel rooms up until mid-July.
The vulnerable people’s task force will continue trying to secure additional funding to continue providing temporary housing until one-hundred new units of social housing can be built at two locations in Duncan and North Cowichan.
Horn says the modular construction envisioned for the projects should allow them to be completed later this year or in early 2021.
As for the success of the Cowichan Valley sheltering project, Horn says that unlike the experience in other municipalities the camps here are generally operating without trouble because of controls they established.
He says one decision was to cap the number of people at 12 in the tenting sites.
He also says they had observed that in unregulated camps, “people would just come on to the sites willy-nilly, and either stay there, or just visit and leave, so there’s this constant flow of people coming in and out of tenting sites.”
Horn says they decided the new encampments would have a “no guest policy.”
As for the hotel rooms being rented for the program, Horn says working with Warmland Shelter staff allowed them to carefully select the individuals who would be placed in hotel rooms.
“They’ve been able to observe and what those folks and support them in acquiring some of those independent living skills.”
He says the hotel room occupants had already been in short term housing at Warmland and the COVID-19 sheltering camp program staff knew they could manage the situation well.