Plans to create a pop-up isolation shelter for Winnipeg’s homeless population during the COVID-19 outbreak have fallen through after organizers say they experienced “significant challenges” in putting the project together.
Last week, St. Boniface Street Links (SBSL) announced it had rented out the Centre Culturel Franco-Manitobain (CCFM) to create a safe space for people experiencing homelessness during the worldwide pandemic.
The group had planned to set up 40 gym mats in the space, and a 24-hour paramedic service offered to provide training to staff and volunteers, as well as an ambulance and a complement of paramedics to work at the temporary shelter.
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But in a release on Thursday, the partners involved in putting together the shelter said they have been forced to terminate the project following an incident that “temporarily threatened security.”
The release says a volunteer suffered a health crisis, and as a precaution, police were called. The groups didn’t expand on the health crisis or say whether or not it was related to COVID-19.
The volunteer was taken to hospital, and the CCFM building on Provencher Boulevard was closed for the day on Tuesday to ensure everyone’s safety, the partners said in the release.
“As a result, CCFM [and] SBSL agreed the temporary shelter should secure a more suitable venue,” the release reads.
“This decision, although unfortunate, is necessary in light of the challenges encountered.”
The CCFM says its building reopened to tenants and staff on Wednesday, although the public reception and programming continue to be suspended due to COVID-19.
St. Boniface Street Links says it continues to provide community outreach and support to those most in need.
There was no immediate word on plans to open the shelter a different location.
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Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
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