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Fraser Health Authority setting up four emergency shelters as crowded Downtown Eastside remains a concern

Last Updated Apr 11, 2020 at 11:04 am PDT

FILE - The Downtown Eastside resident crisis response team distributes brochures outlining how to access safer drugs. (Photo by Dustin Godfrey for NEWS 1130)

CEO of the Fraser Health Authority, says four emergency sites are being set up in partnership with BC Housing

Approximately 180 spaces that are available in the region

People seeking self-isolation will be based on a referral

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Four emergency shelters are being set up in the Fraser Health region for homeless people needing to self-isolate.

Dr. Victoria Lee, the CEO of the local health authority, says they’re working with BC Housing to provide up to 180 spaces at hotels or community centres.

“There are people that are coming out of, for instance, hospitals or there are referrals that are being managed by Fraser Health to ensure that those at most risk are prioritized if there’s inadequate physical distancing in some of the current living arrangements,” she says.

Lee says people seeking self-isolation require a referral from a shelter, community outreach worker, first responders or hospital staff.

She also adds she will not disclose where the available sites are.

“The information has been shared with municipalities and other partners. However, there are concerns around stigmatization of the population, as well as the potential negative impact of the locations being disclosed.”

A 75-year-old man, originally from Quebec, told NEWS 1130 he’s living in his car because he can’t find any safe shelter outside Vancouver.