Photo by BC Housing
Photo provided by BC Housing

BC Housing has signed a new lease with GSL Group to re-activate the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria for reuse as a temporary shelter.

The shelter will re-open today, Monday March 1st, and will house 45 people experiencing homelessness.

The Western Hockey League’s (WHL) B.C. Division was waiting for confirmation to return-to-play in the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, but the season’s start will continue to be delayed.

Despite many other provinces being given the green light to reinstate WHL hockey, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has not given the go-ahead for BC as of yet, as a result of current COVID-19 public health orders in place until further notice.

“Today’s announcement is an important step that brings  us a step closer to our goal that people experiencing homelessness in Victoria’s encampments will be offered safe, dignified and comfortable emergency accommodation by the end of March,” said David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing in January.

PHS Community Services Society will operate the temporary shelter and services will include access to meals, washroom facilities, wraparound supports such as health-care services, addictions treatment, and harm reduction..

Those who are experiencing homelessness throughout Victoria and particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 will be prioritized for access to the temporary shelter, including people over the age of 55 and those who have pre-existing health conditions.

The new lease will run until May 30th, 2021, with an option to extend pending discussions with GSL group.

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