Coronavirus: Campsite for homeless in Parksville churchyard dismantled

Coronavirus: Campsite for homeless in Parksville churchyard dismantled
File photo
Tents with homeless people are seen near a Parksville cemetery on April 22, 2020.

A campsite for homeless people in a churchyard in Parksville has now been dismantled.

Space had been created near the historic cemetery at Parksville’s St. Anne’s Church last week after social distancing rules made it impossible to allow homeless people to continue sheltering inside the church. 

However, due to concerns of family members of people buried in the cemetery, the camp has been shut down.

BC Housing has moved some of the campers into an area motel.

Rev. Christine Muise, a founding member of Oceanside HEARTS, the group that worked with BC Housing on finding a shelter solution, said no individuals had been staying on a grave and there were designated spots on an access road.

“The good news, in our continued work with all levels of government, many social service agencies and individuals, is that we were able to get 10 people into hotels with the continued support of BC Housing.  This is a good step as we continue to seek help for other people in the community; however there continues to be serious gaps and barriers in care,” Muise wrote in a letter updating the situation.

Muise wrote that she hopes that conservations happening this week will address protocol specifically for homeless people who test positive for COVID-19.

She also wrote that some homeless people currently out the community will not have all the support they need when moved into hotels.

“In this second group, it would be wise and advisable that staffing and guidance come directly from mental health and addictions doctors, nurses, social workers, and other trained professionals, as well as an addiction physician familiar with opiate agonist treatments.  We would likely see far more success if this were the case.  We would likely see far more success if there were physicians and nurse practitioners involved who understand the need for complex care and follow up,” Muise wrote.


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