‘The park is going to close:’ B.C. to Vancouver homeless campers who refuse COVID-19 housing

The B.C. government is still aiming to move residents of an entrenched Vancouver homeless camp to temporary housing by its Saturday deadline, but says it needs more time for residents at a pair of camps in Victoria.

Two weeks ago, the province unveiled a plan to move homeless people out of Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park and Victoria’s Topaz Park and Pandora Avenue camps and into temporary housing in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus among an especially vulnerable population.


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So far, 320 people from all three sites have moved into accommodations, such as hotels, and paired with mental health and addictions services, access to a clean supply of drugs for users, and culturally sensitive housing to help keep families and friends together.

The province is still working to set up a 45-bed emergency response centre, featuring pop-up privacy pods, at Victoria’s main hockey venue, the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.

The province is also working on longer-term housing so that homeless people aren’t forced back onto the street as B.C. returns to a “new normal” amid the pandemic, Simpson said.

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