West Kelowna  

BC Housing confirms four new COVID-19 isolation sites locally

New isolation sites set up

Four new COVID-19 isolation sites have been set up in Kelowna and West Kelowna to help people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic, BC Housing confirmed Thursday.

BC Housing has secured three sites with 80 spaces in Kelowna, and one site with 40 spaces in West Kelowna "where vulnerable individuals, including those who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness, can maintain physical distance during the COVID-19 pandemic," says Laura Mathews, BC Housing communications manager.

This includes individuals who do not have symptoms of COVID-19 but are immunocompromised or at high risk for contracting the virus. 

The West Kelowna site at Super 8 garnered the attention of some residents this week who noticed smoking tents being put up and the addition of security patrol on site. On Wednesday morning, staff confirmed the facility was being used to support a new shelter. 

The Kelowna Curling Club has also been identified as a facility that could provide up to 40 more spaces to support vulnerable individuals, if deemed necessary in the future. 

"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," says Mathews. 

"We recognize that supports are needed in Kelowna and West Kelowna to help people experiencing homelessness during this difficult time ... BC Housing and its partners are continuing to look at a number of ways to bring people inside and options continue to evolve along with the needs of the community." 

BC Housing has chosen not to release the names of the hotels and motels providing additional spaces, but says site details will be listed on its website once contracts are finalized. 

In addition to the new sites, a temporary winter shelter in Kelowna will stay open until the end of June, providing an additional 15 spaces for people experiencing homelessness in the community, confirmed Mathews. 

BC Housing has also opened up a hygiene shelter at 1265 Ellis St. for people experiencing homelessness to shower, have access to a proper washroom and laundry facilities, which is staffed seven days a week and provides peer support options. 

More West Kelowna News