BC Housing in collaboration with Turning Points Collaborative Society announced, May 12, 2020, Vernon’s emergency shelter — housed in the curling club — is the first in the province to introduce sleeping pods to better protect those experiencing homelessness against COVID-19. (Turning Points)

COVID-19: Homeless to be relocated from temporary Okanagan shelter

Homeless shelters in Vernon have been combined into one site at the curling rink since April

A plan is in place to relocate Vernon’s street entrenched population from an amalgamated shelter amid COVID-19.

In early April, the City of Vernon, Turning Points Collaborative Society, Interior Health and BC Housing partnered to combine their homeless shelters into a single space at the Vernon curling rink, so as to better contain the spread of COVID-19 among the city’s most vulnerable.

The temporary emergency shelter will be vacated at the end of August, according to officials at Turning Points.

“We are working with BC Housing on finding an alternative site, which will allow us to continue providing a facility for people experiencing homelessness that allows for physical distancing for the clients and staff,” Turning Points said in a statement.

The new site has not yet been announced, but Turning Points said updates will be available in the coming weeks.

Vernon was the first city in B.C. to amalgamate its emergency shelters to better protect those experiencing homelessness from COVID-19. It then struck another first a month later, becoming the first city to install sleeping pods at its combined facility.

The larger space in the amalgamated facility allows for greater physical distancing for clients and staff, while the sleeping pods provide personal space for clients, helping to avoid possible COVID-19 transmission.

READ MORE: COVID-19: Vernon homeless shelters combine in curling club

READ MORE: North Okanagan relatives to sleep outside for homeless youth

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