Our Place Society is scaling back many of its services in light of the current coronavirus pandemic and closing its doors to drop-ins to meet the province’s new regulations.
To comply with stricter health guidelines, Our Place is suspending access to its drop-in space, computer lab, courtyard, hygiene, and clothing area.
Despite these measures, they still plan to continue operating their washroom facilities, transitional housing, and shelter spaces, and providing three meals per day.
Volunteer shifts have also been cancelled to reduce the potential spread of the coronavirus, and dedicated staff will step in to fill those roles.
“In order to place people at the appropriate distance apart, we will need to rework our shelter space,” says Grant McKenzie, communications director of Our Place.
Our Place will be closing its seasonal shelter as of Wednesday, and limiting the number of people who can access shelter mats at First Met and My Place.
“People will be displaced,” says McKenzie. “We are talking with the province to see if it can help us with an alternate housing plan for those people who have nowhere to go, but until that happens, people will be forced to sleep in parks and doorways.”
Our Place says their greatest needs during this time are financial donations, and to assist while they adjust their shelters to comply with health regulations – single-person tents, sleeping bags and tarps.
Donations can be dropped off at New Roads Therapeutic Recovery Community, 94 Talcott Road in View Royal, Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
“There is a lot of fear around what happens when this virus makes its way to the people we serve,” says McKenzie.
“But our dedicated staff isn’t about to abandon this population. Our kitchen is already planning how it can continue to serve three meals per day on the street in front of 919 Pandora Avenue.”
Also effective immediately, appointments and drop-in visits are limited to urgent transactions only at all Claim Centres.