Residents of Greater Victoria have donated a large number of supplies for vulnerable homeless populations forced to sleep outside after the closure of multiple shelters due to COVID-19 physical distancing directives.
The initiative launched by United Way Greater Victoria, Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Victoria, and HeroWork Society saw Victoria residents donate166 tents, 240 sleeping bags, 109 tarps and 125 sleeping mats to the Neighbourhood Response Team on Saturday.
The collection drive, which made sure to follow proper physical distancing measures, was held on Saturday, April 4th in the parking lot of the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.
All materials are being quarantined for 72 hours before they are distributed to people in need by the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness.
“At this time, faced with so many challenges, Victoria once again proves they are a community who truly cares,” said Rhonda Brown Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters.
“Thank you to everyone who donated so generously and the many volunteers who helped with this truly Neighbourhood Response.”
Those who wish to support initiatives like the Neighbourhood Response Team are encouraged to donate to United Way’s ‘Local Love in a Global Crisis’ fund.
With shelter closures, much of Victoria’s homeless population has been camped on Pandora Ave, as well as at outdoor sheltering locations, Topaz Park and Royal Athletic Park.
The City of Victoria, Island Health, and BC Housing have been working to find indoor sheltering options for vulnerable populations that will enable them to practice proper physical distancing and hygiene measures.
Thus far, over 100 motel rooms have been acquired to house individuals experiencing homelessness in Victoria.
The BCCDC has set up a 2019 novel coronavirus telephone information line at 1-833-784-4397 for those who have further questions about this disease.
Anyone concerned that they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of the novel coronavirus, should contact their primary care provider, local public health office, or call 8-1-1.
The Province has also created the 1-888-COVID-19 line to connect British Columbians needing non-medical information about the coronavirus pandemic.
As of the time of publication, the total number of COVID-19 patients worldwide has risen to 1,340,763.
Over 74,400 people have died from the illness and 278,164 have made a full recovery.