Vancouver to provide additional cleaning, hygiene stations, meals for vulnerable residents

Apr 3 2020, 12:40 pm

The City of Vancouver is rolling out several new measures to benefit vulnerable residents in the city, specifically those living in privately owned single-room occupancy (SRO) housing.

Mayor Kennedy Stewart made the announcement on Friday afternoon alongside Janice Abbot, CEO of Atira Women’s Resource Society.

Hygiene stations have been expanded in downtown Vancouver. There are now 41 bathrooms and 11 shower facilities, according to Stewart.

The city has secured a two-week contract of commercial cleaning, which will provide daily cleaning and spot cleaning of the 21 highest-occupied privately owned SROs.

A contract was also acquired to deliver two weeks’ worth of food delivery to 1,100 residents in those SROs.

Stewart says that the latter two measures focus on private residences because many of them don’t benefit from public health responses from the provincial government.

He adds that hundreds of hotel rooms have been secured for vulnerable residents. BC Housing says that there are enough rooms for the needs identified by Vancouver Coastal Health.

The Coal Harbour Community Centre and Roundhouse Community Centre, which were turned into referral-only centres in March, are also fully operational.

As of Friday afternoon, Stewart says there are 30 occupants between the two spaces so far. The total capacity of both centres is 160, and capacity is expected to be met in the coming days.

He notes that there are no confirmed coronavirus outbreaks or clusters in the downtown Eastside.

There are four key priority areas in Vancouver’s COVID-19 response: city-wide compliance, support for vulnerable communities in the downtown Eastside, a financial well-being plan for the city, and a city-wide economic recovery plan.

Stewart says that further updates and measures regarding compliance, financial well-being, and an economic recovery plan are expected in the coming weeks.

As of Thursday afternoon, BC health officers have confirmed 1,121 cases of coronavirus in the province. A total of 31 people in British Columbia have died as a result of the virus.

Of the total cases, 149 are hospitalized and 68 are in critical care. Fortunately, 641 people have fully recovered.