A new COVID-19 sheltering camp for vulnerable and homeless youth is expected to open this week in Duncan.

John Horn of Cowichan Housing says it will hold up to a dozen youth from 18 to 24 years old.

He says outreach workers in the community alerted them to the need for shelter among youth.

Horn says they weren’t being served in places that had been set up already.

He also says because they were quite young, “we didn’t feel it was quite appropriate to put young people in with older people who had been, maybe street entrenched for a long time.”

He says there is at-risk youth as young as 13 in the community.

However, the housing society feels it cannot provide a higher level of service required by the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

Horn says these youth are “essentially under the care of the ministry and there’s a lot of regulations and rules.”

Cowichan Housing is still in the process of setting up the camp set up and it’s expected to open by the end of the week.

He says there will be the same services that are provided at the other encampments, as well as a new staff member who will work with the camp.

It will join a group of tenting sites that were set up in the Cowichan Valley in the spring to provide accommodation for homeless people during the COVID-19 pandemic.