BC Housing is working with the Province of BC, BC's health authorities, the BC Centre for Disease Control, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and other partners to monitor COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Below are steps that have are being taken to mitigate and prepare for potential impacts.
Measures being taken at BC Housing managed buildings and offices
An internal employee intranet site has been created to support BC Housing employees in relation to COVID-19. Posters have also been placed in all BC Housing managed buildings and offices. Employees are being reminded of ways to stop the spread of viruses, such as:
- Frequent and proper handwashing with soap and water
- Using alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available
- Covering nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing and sneezing
- Throwing away used tissues immediately and washing hands afterward
- Avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth
- Remaining at home when sick
In addition to these sound hygiene measures, staff have also been advised to avoid unnecessary contact with others. Social distancing is being encouraged, such as avoiding handshakes and maintaining personal space – particularly from people who are coughing or sneezing. Staff are reducing potential contact through steps such as cancelling all air travel for business as well as other non-essential travel, calling-in to meetings when possible, and cancelling or postponing events and gatherings. Technology, such as videoconferencing and teleconferencing, is being used to ensure work continues without increasing unnecessary risk.
Closing some in-person services
As a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and support the safety of clients and employees, BC Housing is temporarily closing some in-person services. Effective, Monday, March 16, 2020 at 11:30 a.m., BC Housing will be closing:
- Home Office reception (Suite 1700-4555 Kingsway, Burnaby, BC)
- Applicant Services storefront (Suite 101-4555 Kingsway, Burnaby, BC)
- Licensing & Consumer Services reception and digital kiosk (Suite 203-4555 Kingsway, Burnaby, BC)
- Receptions at BC Housing regional offices:
- Interior Region Office (451 Winnipeg Street, Penticton, BC)
- Lower Mainland Directly Managed Office (Suite 510-369 Terminal Avenue, Vancouver, BC)
- Northern Region Office (1380-2nd Avenue, Prince George, BC)
- Vancouver Island Region Office (Suite 201-3440 Douglas Street, Victoria, BC)
- Supportive Housing Services - Orange Hall (297 East Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC)
Applicants for the Housing Registry can apply online, or call 1-800-257-7756 (toll-free) or 604-433-2218 (in the Lower Mainland). Inquiries for the SAFER, Rental Assistance Program and Home Adaptations for Independence can be made by calling the numbers above.
Additional information will be shared when these in-person services re-open.
Additional safety measures
When social distancing or avoiding contact is not possible (e.g., for those working in storefronts, housing sites, construction sites, out in the community, and in other frontline roles), a number of precautions have been put in place. These safety measures include wearing masks, gloves or other personal protective equipment, and other procedures designed to reduce the spread of viruses such as physical protective barriers in storefronts.
Enhanced cleaning protocols
Housing buildings and public buildings
To minimize the risk of spreading the virus, enhanced cleaning is taking place in all BC Housing managed buildings and public storefront/offices. The same recommendations have been provided to all service and housing providers. Enhanced cleaning is focused on disinfecting common areas, such as elevators and common amenity spaces, and high touchpoints, such as door handles and countertops. Additional information about enhanced cleaning protocols is available HERE.
Work Area Cleaning
An approved disinfectant spray or disinfectant cleaning wipes have been provided for all BC Housing work areas. Rated effective against coronavirus, these products are being used to disinfect workspaces, phones and other high-touch items, such as door handles and counters.
Supports for Housing Providers
Information has been created and shared with all of our housing and service providers to assist them to prepare and react to COVID-19. These housing provider materials can be found below.
Shelters, Single Room Occupancy hotels (SROs), and Transition Housing
BC Housing is working with the Ministry of Health and local health authorities to share information and regularly update our housing and service providers to assist them as they prepare and react to COVID-19. If a case were to be confirmed in a shelter, the shelter operator will work with BC Housing and the local health authority to determine a safe space where confirmed cases would be able to self-isolate.
Information and updates
BC Housing will continue to share information and updates with service and housing providers through the BC Housing website and with employees through the intranet site.