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COVID-19 Agency Updates – Cowichan Region

Last updated: March 24, 2020



  • UPDATE: After the School Board decision March 24, 2020 - We will remain closed indefinitely for sleeping services but will continue to hand out food and clothing
  • We just had to make the tough decision to close the shelter for sleeping due to the extreme staff shortage.  We will be handing out bag lunches for our current clients and handing out clothing and blankets as women come to request them.  The hours will be 7-9 pm for getting food/clothing at the door and 6-8 am for morning breakfast and clothing needs. We will continue to serve women only.   
  • We are looking at some alternative solutions that we hope to have in place later this week.  



  • Our need, and that of so many we serve, has never been greater.
  • This week, many other local agencies, including the Duncan Foodbank, have had to close because of possible COVID-19 exposure.  This leaves even more people who are struggling in poverty and who are homeless or street-entrenched counting on Warmland House for meals. 
  • We are presently serving extra meals each day, most of it by take-out, outside our front doors at 2579 Lewis Street. Although very grateful for the contributions of food by a number of local stores and restaurants, we are still in need of more.  
  • Here is a list of other items we also need.   If you are on social media, please share our list. 
  • If you are a business owner and have food that may spoil because you are now closed, please consider donating to the Shelter (call to discuss 250.715.1132).  Tax receipts can be arranged for larger donations. If you are able, Donate Now to help us meet the needs of the hungry, homeless and hurting. Secure online donations can be made here.


COWICHAN BASKET SOCIETY–  Temporarily closed.



To comply with strict health guidelines, we have taken the following precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

WARMLAND HOUSE SHELTER (2579 Lewis St): The Shelter gates are now closed 24-hours per day.  Clients needing to use services, are buzzed in so that we can manage how many people are inside at any one time.   People who are not transitional housing tenants are not permitted to gather inside.  Tables in the dining area have been further spaced apart, and meals are served directly to people.  Some meals are provided as bag lunches.


SOBERING & ASSESSMENT CENTRE: Will remain open, operations as usual, with extra disinfection and extra distancing between clients.

OVERDOSE PREVENTION SITE: Continuing to operate but with extra disinfection and extra spacing between tables to provide distance between clients.

HOMELESS OUTREACH TEAM: Continuing to connect with people, but with added precautions.

OPEN DOOR YOUTH SERVICES CENTRE (371 Festubert St) & YOUTH OUTREACH SERVICES: Continuing to operate.  Open Door staff will no longer be making breakfast,   At this time we are making brown bag lunches for the youth.

FAMILY CAPACITY, SEXUAL ASSAULT INTERVENTION PROGRAMS: Counsellors will be connecting with clients remotely.

BIKEWORKS / ARTWORKS / DISCOVERYWORKS PROGRAMS (51 Trunk Rd): All programs closed until further notice.   Program staff is working to keep in touch with youth via social media and other online options.

RAINBOWS FOR CHILDREN: Cancelled until further notice.

MALAHAT YOUTH GROUPS/PROGRAMS: Cancelled until further notice.

BOUNCEBACK PHONE COACHING PROGRAM: Coaches will be operating remotely.

CMHA-CVB ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICES (5878 York St): Currently closed to the public.   Staff are working remotely.   To connect with us, send an email to




  •  Located at 205 Boundary St.  Duncan
  •  We are open to the public 9am-12noon 1-4pm
  •  Services can be accessed via 1 866 866 0800 as well   



  • MCFD’s offices at Craig St and 4th St remain open


M’AKOLA HOUSING SOCIETY – Audrey George, Assisted Living Manager

  • We are “Essential Visits” only which would be Island Health, pharmacy and food/essential needs delivery only.
  • No guests, visitors, and no meal bookings.
  • We are serving boxed meals only and all recreational activities are cancelled until further notice.


COWICHAN HOSPICE – Gretchen Hartley, ED

Since Tuesday, March 17th, we have made the following decisions regarding hospice services in Cowichan:

  •  We are offering all clients support over the phone or by video-call.
  • We welcome those interested in using Hospice programs to contact us by phone, email or fax (please see numbers below) and will connect new clients with supporting volunteers for phone or video calls.
  • We have suspended all wellness sessions, at the Hospice office, in homes and in facilities, and have suspended all visits to patients in hospital.

This situation is evolving rapidly and we will work to continue providing support to individuals and families in our community while taking the necessary steps to keep clients, volunteers, and staff safe. If you or someone you know would like to use hospice services please get in touch with us by phone at: 250-701-4242 or 1-888-701-4242 (toll-free from Ladysmith)  Fax: 250 701-4243,  or by email at:


  • You may have heard that Reel Alternatives fundraising films have been cancelled for March and April. This is following the advice of our provincial government to cease all gatherings of 50 people or more.
  • Our Annual General Meeting, which usually takes place in early May, has been tentatively moved to June 9th.
  • Happily, construction on Cowichan Hospice House continues to be on schedule.

We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as they become available. Please check our Facebook and our website for up to date information.

  • The Cowichan community is strong, loving and compassionate, and we will get through this together. And remember, wash your hands!
  • Thank you for your continued support during this challenging time.



  • We are currently operating electronically only



  • We are still open, operating with a skeleton staff.  Program staff/counsellors are working from home, available by phone.  They regularly reach out to their clients, they find texting/phone or social media is effective.
  • Our Homeless program is operating. the breakfast is five days per week.  Although we got funded for enhanced hours, we have been unable to sustain the weekend services due to staffing shortages. 
  • The service is scaled down, 10 people at a time for social distancing.  People wait outside to come in.  Like-wise with the shower and laundry, limited numbers so we can keep up with sanitizing. 
  • The homeless people are angry.  They don’t know which is worse, starving or the COVID-19. 
  • We are presently working on a plan to give them bagged lunches before they leave. 



  • We are hand out food only and do this outside for reduced days and reduced hours 1-2:30 Mon & Wed and 11:30-1:30 Fri.
  • Youth activities, tax filing, daily drop in & lunch, workshops, tutoring, etc are all closed.
  • Anyone needing clothing can contact us and we will arrange something. We're setting up deliveries where possible for seniors and those with mobility issues. 
  • We are no longer accepting donations of clothing or household items, but are accepting food. If anyone would like to make a financial donation, we ask that they use our  online CanadaHelps account



Providence Farm is a service provider to Island Health and CLBC clients in:

-Mental Health Substance Use

-Brain Injury Program

-Geriatric (Seniors social services)

-Developmental Disabilities

-Behavioural Health

-Personal Supports Initiatives

  • At present Providence Farm is closed to on-site programming.  Farm managers are working virtually, in consultation with caregivers, to survey for current and projected desired supports.
  • Each client/caregiver is being contacted for the purpose of categorizing potential service response which may include:
    • a) virtual support 
    • b) one-on-one caregiver and/or client support at Providence Farm in scheduled blocks
  •  Depending on circumstances, Providence Farm may explore providing remote services on location at client homes.



The Ladysmith Resources Centre Association (LRCA) is committed to providing services to the most under-served populations in our community. We are limiting the number of people who access our facility, so please phone us for service in advance to make an appointment or receive program specific information. We are working on providing services in modified ways where possible (please see attached table). Our essential services, the food bank program and the shelter will continue to operate as usual, with additional safety precautions in place.

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UNITED WAY CENTRAL & NORTHERN VANCOUVER ISLAND – Nicole Benson, Communications Director

  • Our staff are busy working hard to help our communities. We are mobilizing our resources to best serve our communities and help to keep our neighbours safe and healthy. To stay engaged with our work follow our updates on Facebook, visit our website and sign up for our e-news.
  • Most staff are working remotely and can be reached by email during regular office hours. Our office line will be monitored and answered 250.591.8731.
  • All UWCNVI events, meetings and site visits are cancelled or postponed. We will host as many of these events through teleconference as possible.
  • We are working closely with United Way Canada and other United Ways in BC to talk to federal and provincial funders to see if more resources can be made available for our hard-working agencies in our region.