Tenting Site on St. Julien Street Helping to Shelter, Support and Self-Isolate Duncan’s Homeless During COVID-19

DUNCAN, BC – A tenting site for up to 12 people experiencing homelessness has been set-up in a vacant lot owned by the City of Duncan on St. Julien Street.

The City of Duncan, along with other Cowichan Valley municipalities, has been working with BC Housing through the COVID-19 Cowichan Task Force for Vulnerable Populations to provide shelter and support to homeless and precariously housed people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, BC Housing is working with communities and local health authorities across the province to identify temporary sheltering spaces – such as emergency response centres and designated hotels – to provide safe places for people experiencing homelessness to self-isolate and reduce the risk of spreading the virus. In some communities, including Duncan, where not enough indoor spaces are yet available, organized outdoor living is being arranged. Four other tenting sites have been set up in the Cowichan Valley: Buller Street, Ladysmith, Cowichan Community Centre and Fuller Lake Arena, North Cowichan, and an area called “the mound”, Government Street, Cowichan Tribes.

Work to secure hotel and motel rooms in the region is ongoing and at this time over 50 people are being housed at various locations in the region and ongoing support is being provided.

In Duncan, in consultation with municipal staff, elected officials, and local social agencies, 361 St Julien Street has been identified as a short-term tenting site. The site is temporary and will only operate during the COVID-19 health crisis. The Cowichan Housing Association, a local experienced service provider, will be overseeing the site with support from the Canadian Mental Health Association Cowichan Valley Branch, Island Health and other public health organizations. Specialized health teams will visit the site regularly to assess individuals’ mental and physical health and check for COVID-19 symptoms. The site will include food, outreach, and hygiene services. Garbage collection, cleaning and sanitization will happen regularly. There will be temporary fencing set-up around the perimeter of the property as well as on-site security at nighttime and a rotating security during daytime hours.

Emergency response sites like this one are a short-term solution to the COVID-19 pandemic until longer-term solutions can be found. BC Housing recognizes the urgent need and is committed to working with partners to develop permanent supportive housing in the region.

“The tenting sites are offering stability, safety, and support for people while a longer-term plan can be put in place,” comments Mayor Michelle Staples. “We continue to work hard with our provincial and municipal partners to develop permanent supportive housing spaces.”

For more information, please also see our list of Frequently Asked Questions.


For more information, please contact:

John Horn, Executive Director
Cowichan Housing Assocation
T: 250-597-1938
E: john.horn@cowichanhousing.com

Michelle Staples,Mayor
City of Duncan
T: (250) 466-9412
E: mayor@duncan.ca