Working with partners and communities to secure sites
BC Housing is working with regional health authorities, municipal partners and experienced non-profit shelter and housing providers to develop community-based response plans to the COVID-19 outbreak. This includes identifying locations where vulnerable individuals, including those who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness, would be able to recover and self-isolate. These sites will be vital in preventing the spread of COVID-19 as they allow us to spread out the number of people in existing shelters, free-up acute care beds in hospitals, and prevent crowding.
We understand this is an unprecedented use of hotels and community centres, but this is essential to try to prevent the spread of the virus and mitigate the demand on our healthcare system.
Who will have access to locations?
These new rooms and community centre beds are assisting a range of people, including those experiencing homelessness, people without safe spaces to self-isolate and youth.
In addition, some hotels are reserved specifically for people who have COVID-19 and need a place to self-isolate while they recover. Other spaces are for patients being discharged from hospitals who do not have COVID-19 and who do not need emergency care, but still require ongoing health care – freeing up much needed beds in hospitals.
Local health authorities will identify people who require self-isolation and BC Housing will work with the health authorities and the operators to make these spaces available to them.
Non-disclosure of locations
The locations aren’t being disclosed so that these facilities can operate privately and focus on helping people, who need a safe place to self-isolate. BC Housing is still in the process of negotiating contracts with hotels. If the locations of the confirmed sites were to be released, this could jeopardize negotiations with other hotel providers.
BC Housing will work closely with each regional health authority to determine the appropriate referral process.
Each health authority may have a slightly different process, but generally these are the steps:
- If a shelter provider has someone who meets the identified criteria (i.e., senior, medically fragile or underlying health condition that puts the individual at greater risk), they are encouraged to first connect with their local health authority
- Depending on the situation, the individual may be asked to stay in place, go to the emergency response centres, or go to an isolation room in an identified hotel
- If the individual is designated to either an emergency response centre or an identified hotel, the shelter provider will be provided with an appointment time and location for the individual
- If the individual is ill and showing signs of COVID-19, transportation will be arranged
BC Housing is in contract negations with a number of additional hotels and community spaces. Additional contracts will be finalized in the days and weeks to come.
Learn more: Covid-19 Fact Sheet - Isolation Hotels
The following list includes the number of spaces secured in hotels, motels and community centres across BC to date (please note that these numbers continue to fluctuate and not all sites are in active use):
Total Confirmed: 119 sites, 2933 spaces (Updated: September 7, 2020)
Total Confirmed: 20 sites, 532 spaces
- Abbotsford: 3 sites, 73 spaces
- Burnaby: 1 site, 64 spaces
- Chilliwack: 2 sites, 26 spaces
- Coquitlam: 1 site, 30 spaces
- Hope: 2 site, 18 spaces
- Langley: 2 site, 56 spaces
- Maple Ridge: 2 sites, 35 spaces
- Mission: 1 site, 17 spaces
- Surrey: 6 sites, 213 spaces; includes:
- North Surrey Recreation Centre - 110 beds
Total Confirmed: 40 sites, 724 spaces
- Castlegar: 2 sites, 4 spaces
- Cranbrook: 2 sites, 51 spaces
- Creston: 1 site, 10 spaces
- Grand Forks: 1 site, 3 spaces
- Kamloops: 5 sites, 140 spaces; includes:
- Memorial Arena - 50 spaces
- Kelowna: 5 sites, 100 spaces
- Lake Country: 1 site, 2 spaces
- Merritt: 2 site, 4 spaces
- Nelson: 4 sites, 52 spaces
- Penticton: 6 sites, 131 spaces
- Revelstoke: 1 site, 2 spaces
- Salmon Arm: 3 sites, 64 spaces
- Trail: 1 site, 3 spaces
- Vernon: 4 sites, 114 spaces; includes:
- Vernon Curling Club - 70 beds
- West Kelowna: 1 site, 40 spaces
- Williams Lake: 1 site, 6 spaces
Total Confirmed: 16 sites, 136 spaces
- Burns Lake: 1 site, 10 spaces
- Fort St. John: 1 site, 10 spaces
- Kitimat: 1 site, 2 spaces
- Masset: 1 site, 2 spaces
- Prince George: 3 sites, 50 spaces
- Prince Rupert: 2 sites, 40 spaces
- Quesnel: 2 site, 8 spaces
- Smithers: 2 sites, 13 spaces
- Terrace: 1 site, 5 spaces
- Vanderhoof: 1 site, 5 spaces
- Valemount: 1 site, 1 space
Total Confirmed: 19 sites, 864 spaces
- Gibsons: 1 site, 2 spaces
- North Vancouver: 1 site, 20 spaces
- Powell River: 2 sites, 18 spaces
- Richmond: 1 site, 45 spaces
- Minoru Place Activity Centre - 45 beds
- Sechelt: 1 site, 15 spaces
- Squamish: 3 sites, 67 spaces
- Vancouver: 10 sites, 697 spaces
- Buchan Hotel - 63 beds
- Howard Johnson Hotel - 109 beds
Vancouver Island Region
Total Confirmed: 24 sites, 675 spaces
- Campbell River: 2 sites, 9 spaces
- Comox: 1 site, 10 spaces
- Courtenay: 2 sites, 37 spaces
- Duncan: 1 site, 3 spaces
- Nanaimo: 4 sites, 69 spaces
- Community Services Building - 36 beds
- Parksville: 1 site, 16 spaces
- Port Alberni: 1 site, 1 space
- Port Hardy: 1 site, 1 space
- Salt Spring Island: 1 site, 6 spaces
- Sooke: 1 site, 17 spaces
- Ucluelet: 1 site, 1 space
- Victoria: 8 sites, 505 spaces; includes:
- Comfort Inn - 93 spaces
- Paul's Motor Inn - 75 spaces
- Save On Food Memorial Centre - 48 spaces
Covid-19 Shelter Expansions
In addition to hotel and community centre sites, BC Housing has worked with its partners to keep temporary winter shelters open until the end of June. These shelters provide additional spaces for people experiencing homelessness. Temporary winter shelters normally close at the end of March each year.
Note: The list is of all open temporary shelters and shelters extending operations in response to the pandemic. This list does not include permanent shelters.
For a full list of shelters across the province that have extended operations: Covid-19: Capacity Expansion Shelters (Updated May 28, 2020)
Emergency Response Centres (ERC)
BC Housing has worked with partners to open temporary emergency response centres. Emergency response centres are a temporary reassignment of existing public buildings – such as a community centre – to provide additional safe spaces for people experiencing homelessness.
Emergency Response Centre (ERC) Resources
- COVID-19 Emergency Response Centres – Question & Answer (PDF)
- New Westminster Massey Complex ERC - Fact Sheet (PDF)