Cowichan region receives $392,000 for emergency homeless response to COVID-19

Cowichan region receives $392,000 for emergency homeless response to COVID-19

The Cowichan Region will be receiving a total of $392,000 to go towards their community emergency response during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ‘COVID-19 Vulnerable Population Cowichan Task Force’ will be receiving $220,000 from the Rapid Relief Fund, organized by the Victoria Foundation, Jawl Foundation and Times Colonist is providing $220,000 for Cowichan. and an additional $172,000 will be coming from BC Housing

“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,” said John Horn of the Cowichan Housing Association in a press release.

According to the Cowichan task force, the funding comes following their submission of a response plan to BC Housing last week.

The plan they submitted proposes that people throughout the region be housed in a variety of ways, one of which was a call for small-scale “family cluster” outdoor tenting sites. The ask from the Cowichan region is for these tenting sites to house up to 12 people maximum.

The plan also emphasized that none of theses campsites will be in parks or on public green space.

Along with the BC Housing funds, the $220,000 from the Victoria Foundation’s Rapid Relief Fund will provide the task force with enough money to include hotel rooms. The Rapid Relief Fund also enables the financial freedom for additional 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,” reads the press release.

Now set up will begin on the newly approved plan immediately and ‘phase one’ 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.”

The Victoria Foundation’s Rapid Relief Fund was created with the aim of helping the people who need it most throughout Victoria and the Cowichan Valley. Just recently, CHEK News hosted a benefit concert called Rock For Relief, with proceeds going towards the Rapid Relief Fund and the fund for the rest of Vancouver Island, the Island Response Fund. The benefit concert, along with post-show t-shirt sales, managed to raise over $700,000 to help with emergency response.


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