Tents have popped up in Railtown since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. BC Housing says it has secured spaces at local hotels and Kalein Centre to house the street community in case the virus spreads within Nelson. Photo: Tyler Harper

BC Housing enlists Nelson hotels, Kalein Centre for COVID-19 isolation spaces

The service is for people either at-risk of or currently homeless

Nelson hotels and the Kalein Hospice Centre will provide 38 isolated spaces for people at-risk of or experiencing homelessness if they are infected by COVID-19.

BC Housing’s plan for Nelson was part of a provincial announcement that includes 939 spaces at 23 hotels, motels and community centres around B.C., which will provide a safe place for treatment and recovery if the pandemic continues to spread.

Local hotels will offer 30 of the 38 spaces available. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing told the Star it won’t identify which hotels are participating “so that these facilities can operate privately and focus on helping people who need a safe place to self-isolate.”

Some accommodators in the city have already said they would offer units at a discount for guests who need to self-isolate.

Daily meals and cleaning services will be provided, and health-care workers will also be available for on-site care.

Nelson, Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon and Kamloops are the only cities within Interior Health so far included in the program.

Meanwhile, the temporary winter shelter run by Nelson CARES, which offers beds that add to Stepping Stones shelter during cold weather, will extend operations from its typical March 31 closure through to the end of June.

The announcement comes after Nelson CARES said it would not turn away clients who entered Stepping Stones with symptoms. The organization did however institute several changes to reduce the spread of infection, including the suspension of drop-in services.

Related:

Nelson and COVID-19: everything you need to know

As Nelson hotels close, some try to stay open without guests



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

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