B.C. Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Selina Robinson. (Arnold Lim/Black Press/File)

BC Housing working to extend Compass Court Shelter operations to June

People experiencing homelessness could be at greater risk if exposed to COVID-19, says government

In an effort to protect vulnerable people from COVID-19, authorities are working to keep Penticton’s Compass House winter shelter open until June.

The Main St. shelter supports 30 beds year-round, with an additional 25 beds during winter.

BC Housing said Thursday they’re prepared to extend operations across the board for those shelters who wish to remain open, pending staffing availability at each site.

READ MORE: B.C. man returns to isolation in China nearly two months after fleeing COVID-19 scare

The B.C. government explained that people experiencing homelessness often have higher rates of health concerns, and as a result could be at greater risk if exposed to COVID-19. For that reason, they said enhanced screening and cleaning protocols are in place at residential facilities to reduce the potential of the virus spreading within the building and beyond.

Typically, temporary winter shelters are used for immediate and short-term relief for people at risk, or people experiencing homelessness in communities where it is too cold to live or camp outside.

BC Housing explained that when they are not a long-term solution to homelessness, these shelters provide a safe place to sleep, as well as sanitation facilities and other supports.

“As British Columbians work to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Province is taking swift action to protect vulnerable people, including those experiencing homelessness, in communities around British Columbia,” read a statement by BC Housing.

On Saturday, March 21, the B.C. government announced a ban on evictions for non-payment of rent in BC Housing-funded buildings, the development of distinct protocols and identification of sites to support isolation for vulnerable people experiencing homelessness, the sustaining of service providers through continued payments, and centralized procurement for critical supplies needed by frontline providers.

“Frontline workers are working tirelessly to ensure that vulnerable residents are protected across the province, recognizing the significant added risks that vulnerable people face in the context of the COVID-19 crisis,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

“While all of us are feeling the effects of the COVID-19 crisis, there is no doubt that our most vulnerable populations including the homeless and the working poor are disproportionately affected,” added Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction.

READ MORE: COVID-19: South Okanagan physician community seeking PPE donations

READ MORE: Letter: There is a bright light out there


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


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

Just Posted

Stay away from landfills, Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen urges

Residents urged to use curbside collection services, stockpile recyclables during COVID-19 pandemic

WATCH: Penticton boy celebrates birthday, from a distance

Lucas Lemke celebrated his 11th birthday while practising social distancing

Second Vernon-area high school exposed to COVID-19

Kalamalka Secondary School staff, students urged to self-isolate if showing symptoms

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen cancels April 2 meeting

Staff working to install videoconferencing system during COVID-19 pandemic

Significant snowfall forecast for Interior mountain passes

Allison Pass, the Okanagan Connector, Rogers Pass and Kootenay Pass could see 15 to 25 cm of snow

Okanagan distillery hands out thousands of sanitizer bottles, needs help in COVID-19 fight

Okanagan Springs is donating hand sanitizer to help fill COVID-induced shortages

B.C. COVID-19 cases rise 92 to 884, one more death, 81 in care

Outbreak action underway in 12 long-term care homes

B.C. veterinarians want to smooth the fur of COVID-19-worried pet owners

Vets expect to continue giving your fur buddies the help they need while social distancing

B.C. VIEWS: Small businesses need our help

Just as integral in neighbourhoods in Vancouver and Surrey as they are in Prince George or Kelowna

‘Tremendous’ response from blood donors has supply keeping pace with demand

About 400,000 of Canada’s 37 million residents give blood on a regular basis

Morning world update: Cases surge past 600,000; positive news in Germany

Spain suffers its deadliest day as Germany considers April 20 to possibly loosen restrictions

VIDEO: Penguins roam empty halls of Vancouver Aquarium

COVID-19 has forced the Vancouver Aquarium to close access to guests – leaving room for its residents

Most Read