The Peterborough Sport and Wellness Centre will be used as an emergency shelter space to improve social distancing for the city’s homeless during the coronavirus pandemic.
On Tuesday, the City of Peterborough announced the west-end facility will be used to provide more space in the existing emergency shelter network.
As a result, the Brock Mission and the overflow shelter bed program on Murray Street will be temporarily re-located to identified areas in the Peterborough Sport and Wellness Centre.
The city says Cameron House and the YES Shelter for Youth and Families may also use the centre as secondary shelter space.
Up to 45 to 50 beds will be made available, but more can be added if necessary.
“We are urging people in our community to stay home as much as possible to practise social distancing in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. For people who don’t have a home, that’s not possible,” said Mayor Diane Therrien.
“We’re providing more shelter space to spread out the existing beds in our shelter network to help protect the health of some of the most vulnerable people in our community during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Peterborough Public Health on Tuesday says there are now five confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, in the area.
The city says the centre’s numerous rooms and washroom amenities provide much-needed flexibility for the shelter network as the coronavirus pandemic progresses.
The city, Peterborough Public Health, the existing shelter operators — Brock Mission, YES Shelter for Youth and Families — as well as Fourcast, which delivers homelessness services, are working together to continue to provide services for people who are homeless.
The city hopes those who use the downtown-area shelters can utilize Peterborough Transit to relocate to the centre.
Therrien noted Peterborough-Kawartha MPP Dave Smith was also involved, offering provincial facilities to support the community’s efforts.
“Our community is working together. It’s taking action for the health and safety of people during this difficult time,” Therrien said.
Housing is the preferred option when assisting people who need shelter, the city said.