Multiple agencies have banded together in Sooke to find a new location that will provide 17 shelter spaces for those in the community experiencing homelessness, including people camping in Ed Macgregor Park.
The District of Sooke’s Emergency Operations Centre and the provincial government announced Tuesday an interim shelter on private land at 2197 Otter Pt. Rd.
Every person will get their own bed and have access to washroom facilities. The shelter will be ready for residents on July 20.
“The pandemic has been difficult for all of us, but our neighbours without homes are especially at risk and the importance of safe, secure shelter has never been more clear,” Premier John Horgan, MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca, said
“As we continue the work of building urgently-needed affordable housing, we are working with our partners to provide supports to people who need them.”
Mayor Maja Tait said part of embracing ‘the new normal’ during the pandemic is thinking outside the box, forging new relationships with community partners and finding solutions that work for everyone.
“I am grateful, but not surprised, that community partners came together under tight timelines, and found a better way to help our most vulnerable residents,” she said.
A small homeless camp was struck at Ed Macgregor Park on June 19, when residents of the SEAPARC Emergency Response Center were asked to vacate to allow the recreation center to resume regular operations that were halted due to COVID-19.
B.C. Housing is funding renovations of the building and on site-operations.
As was the case at SEAPARC, the Sooke Region Communities Health Network will oversee day- to-day services provided to the residents.
Multiple agencies – including the Sooke Shelter Society, AVI Health and Community Services, as well as Island Health – have signed on to provide wrap-around services such as twice-daily meals as well as physical and mental health support.
“Sooke is no stranger to homelessness but what the pandemic did was bring into sharp focus the need to move beyond transitional and stabilization units and bridge to longer-term supportive housing,” Tait said.
Announced in December 2018, the District of Sooke and the Capital Regional District board, in partnership with the B.C. government, recommended land acquisition and development of two adjacent properties located at Drennan Street and Sooke Road as well as an additional property located on Charters Road.
The projects offer stable housing for low-income individuals and families. Charters housing is expected to be ready in 2021.