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Cowichan Region Receives $392,000 for Emergency Homeless Response to COVID-19
May 1, 2020
(North Cowichan, BC) – The COVID-19 Vulnerable Population Cowichan Task Force is pleased to be receiving funding in order to implement phase one of the community emergency response. The Rapid Relief Fund, organized by the Victoria Foundation, Jawl Foundation and Times Colonist is providing $220,000 for Cowichan, and BC Housing is providing an additional $172,000 to Support the Plan.
Task Force Chair John Horn of the Cowichan Housing Association says, “these funds will be used to create temporary accommodations for homeless individuals. To provide support services that include peer supports, site maintenance and cleaning, shower facilities, laundry services, security, portable washrooms and handwashing stations. This supports the Provincial mandate to provide Shelter in Place options in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines and keep people safe.”
This funding comes in response to the plan the COVID-19 Vulnerable Population Cowichan Task Force submitted to BC Housing last week. It proposes that people throughout the Cowichan Region will be housed in a variety of ways including, small-scale, “family cluster” serviced outdoor tenting sites housing up to and no more than 12 people per site. None of these will be located in any parks or public green space. The funding from the Victoria Foundation’s Rapid Relief Fund has enabled the task force to include hotel rooms, and additional funding for outreach workers, food and security.
While the original plan had included and favoured indoor sites, local service providers are not able to provide the level of staffing required due to the impact of COVID-19 on the workforce. Set up will begin immediately and phase one of the plan is funded until June 30, 2020. “I am very pleased to see this initiative move forward,” said Mayor, Al Siebring. “At this time, I am not sure what additional supports and wrap-around services will look like, I have always been committed to having these as part of the solution to the many crises we are facing, but this is a great first step in the right direction.”
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Al Siebring, Mayor
Municipality of North Cowichan