City of Hamilton opens 2nd homeless isolation shelter to address outbreaks, capacity issues
Advocates are applauding the City’s decision to open a second temporary isolation shelter.
The City of Hamilton made the announcement Monday (Mar. 1), hoping that the facility will help address virus outbreaks and a lack of space in the city’s shelter system.
The new isolation shelter will be located at Central Memorial Recreation Centre at 93 West Ave. South.
The announcement comes after the City faced criticism regarding a disconnect between staff and front-line shelter workers. The City maintained that there was enough space to accommodate Hamilton’s vulnerable population as temperatures dropped and COVID cases at shelters ran rampant.
“It is an excellent decision of the City’s to open a second isolation centre in response to the growing numbers of COVID cases seen in the shelter system,” Dr. Jill Wiwcharuk told In The Hammer. She’s an inner-city physician working with HAMSMaRT (Hamilton Social Medicine Response Team).
“People continue to need spaces to stay at night and that is not going to change. Moving people with COVID out of the shelters helps ensure that shelters can keep their doors open to new folks needing places to stay. It will always be a huge challenge to isolate clients who are positive within the shelters themselves.”
A small number of COVID-positive individuals will be accepted at the new location, which is expected to be open for “approximately three weeks.”
“This isolation shelter is only available for those who have been assessed and referred by shelter and health officials,” said the City in an official announcement.
“The City is supporting the temporary isolation shelter with safe and orderly transportation to the site, 24-hour on-site staff, 24-hour security, enhanced indoor and site cleaning, personal protective equipment, and individual client supports to promote isolation.”
Health support for guests are available through the Shelter Health Network.
In January the City reopened an emergency isolation shelter at Bennetto Recreation Centre to help ensure homelessness system clients who had tested positive for COVID-19 had a place to safely isolate if they were required to do so.
The isolation shelter at Bennetto remains open.
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