Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Memorial Arena in Kamloops hasn’t seen much activity but now it’s being put to good use.
BC Housing, the City of Kamloops, Interior Health and the Canadian Mental Health Association are teaming up to help some of the city’s most vulnerable by providing a place to sleep.
The 50 temporary beds are in pods that makes it possible to social distance.
BC Housing’s Annette Drobot explains why they’re installing the pods. “The pods provide an opportunity for people to have more dignity and for us to demonstrate that actually, people matter and so it’s a great way for them to have more privacy.”
“It’s also great because you can wipe them down easier they’re easier to clean and they fit in the space perfectly.”
Drobot thinks the pods are an idea that can live on well past the pandemic. “Well I think the pods are a really great opportunity to provide a temporary housing solution for somebody in a shelter environment for example and they’re certainly better off than a cot or a matt on a floor.”
“So, we can repurpose this in the community, for sure, after COVID.”
CMHA Kamloops Alfred Ochoba agrees they can be used well beyond the pandemic, like when the weather takes a turn for the worse. “These pods are the essential furniture we need for shelter services like this, especially when we get to extreme weather response time, this is what we would need to be able to create that space for people.”
He also says this is one of those silver linings in the horrible COVID-19 cloud. “I think the pandemic has given us all these great ideas moving forward the pod is one of those.”
It’s one of 23 locations that have been set up across the interior with four of those right here in the Tournament Capital.
Only two other places are using the new pods, Penticton and one going up in Vernon.
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