The SEAPARC arena has been used since the end of April as a temporary isolation space for Sooke’s homeless population. The shelter is shutting down early due to youth camps being held at the facility starting on June 29. (Dawn Gibson/Sooke News Mirror)

Sooke temporary homeless shelter packs up early

Occupants to leave facility by June 22

Organizers of the temporary homeless isolation space at SEAPARC Leisure Complex are working on an exit strategy for June 22.

The shelter must pack up camp earlier than anticipated due to SEAPARC hosting youth camps starting June 29.

Originally, the temporary homeless shelter was expected to stay open until June 30.

“We knew that this was coming, so it wasn’t much of a surprise,” said Jen Wilde, homelessness programs coordinator, for the Sooke Region Communities Health Network and director of operations for the COVID-19 response isolation shelter in Sooke.

She noted things have gone well at the camp, and is expecting to provide more information soon on progress made by individuals using the camp.

“We are still looking for a managed exit strategy, and then figuring out what is next,” said Wilde, noting some housing options are expected to come available in March 2021, so she hopes to figure out a plan on how to provide support for Sooke’s homeless population until then.

The temporary shelter is operated by the Sooke Region Communities Health Network, in collaboration with B.C. Housing, regional health authorities and municipal governments, who designed the project as part of a community response plan for the pandemic.

The arena has provided housing and the ability to self-isolate for Sooke’s homeless population and residents at risk of homelessness.

The shelter was prepared for a maximum occupancy of 45 spaces – 30 indoor and 15 outdoor – but only 17 individuals have stayed throughout, said Al Beddows, chairman of SEAPARC board.

Beddows said he was concerned when the project was first announced, but was pleased with how everything turned out.

“It changed my view, personally. Jen Wilde and the homeless coalition did a wonderful job in a difficult situation,” said Beddows. “It was great to see.”

RELATED: Sooke rec centre to provide self-isolation space for homeless people

RELATED: Online petition launched against Sooke homeless shelter

Beddows said there hasn’t been any major issues around the property, and that the biggest challenge was due to public misconception, about what was actually happening at the recreation centre.

“I got a lot of nasty e-mails,” chuckled Beddows, saying many people were concerned about homeless populations from Victoria coming to Sooke, but this was not the reality.

He added that some people were trying to sneak in and take photos inside the arena, and others have driven by throwing beer bottles at the shelter.

“Some people called to report that the occupants were outside,” said Beddows. “It’s not a prison. The residents are free to come and go as they wish. This was a space for Sooke’s homeless population to have the option to self isolate, not be on lockdown.”

In the contract for the temporary shelter, SEAPARC negotiated with B.C. housing to receive $400 per day for usage of the facility, as well as a $9,000 commission for set up and tear down.

Beddows said he isn’t sure what the tear down will look like, but doesn’t expect it to be a big process, and that the place will be completely sanitized and ready to go for kids camps on June 29.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Volunteers sought to remove weeds from Port Renfrew’s Parkinson Road

Road has no sidewalks, forcing pedestrians to walk on pavement

Falling oak tree causes minor damage to Langford home

Tree damages garden and gutters of home on Lindsay Place

Residents to start moving into first of 100 new affordable homes in Langford

Construction underway on second phase of affordable Indigenous housing project in Langford

New space secured for Sooke homeless

The shelter will be ready for residents on July 20

The pandemic is widening Canada’s workplace gender gap

Gender pay gap is incentivizing fathers to work while mothers watch children, a new B.C. study has found

Ex-Okanagan Mountie forfeits 20 days’ pay after sexual misconduct review

A former Vernon RCMP constable made sexual comments, grabbed genitals of male officer in two incidents 10 years ago

Man found dead on Okanagan trail identified as Hollywood actor

GoFundMe campaign launched for man found dead at summit of Spion Kop

3 people dead in Prince George motel fire

Fire personnel believe the blaze was suspicious although investigation in early stages

B.C. sets terms to review police, mental health, race relations

MLAs to recommend Police Act changes by May 2021

POLL: Would you get a vaccine for COVID-19 when it is available?

With the number of positive COVID-19 tests skyrocketing across much of the… Continue reading

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Ghost gear accounts for up to 70 per cent of all macro-plastics in the ocean by weight

Almost 99% less land in B.C. burned this year compared to 2018

2018 was the worst year on record for wildfires

Most Read