A new 138-bed facility in Winnipeg is opening to help the city's shelter population self-isolate due to COVID-19.

The Alternative Isolation Accommodation site is opening in stages, adding to spaces already open in Winnipeg, Families Minister Heather Stefanson announced Sunday.

“A surge in cases within our homeless shelters is putting a strain on the number of beds in the system, as well as on staff needed to support this critical work,” says Stefanson. “Our government is committed to protecting Manitobans from the pandemic. We are taking action to address these challenges by investing in new spaces for vulnerable people who have COVID-19 or need to self-isolate, responding to an increasing demand among our homeless population.” 

The new isolation site is not being identified in order to protect the privacy of those staying there.

The new location brings the number of alternative isolation sites in Winnipeg to five, including one managed by the First Nations Inuit Health Branch and operated by the Canadian Red Cross. 

Community partners, including End Homelessness Winnipeg and Main Street Project, work closely with AIA officials and provide support. Currently, up to 16 people per day from Winnipeg’s shelter population are referred to AIA sites.
“Main Street Project is well-equipped to take on this expanded role to address the increase in COVID-19 cases,” said Bobbette Shoffner, interim executive director, Main Street Project. “In the spring when the pandemic was initially approaching our community, Main Street Project responded quickly to offer this vital service. We will continue to work together with our partners and our community to expand capacity, and ensure we have adequate space for people who have COVID-19 or must isolate safely.”


With files from the Canadian Press