NANAIMO -- The City of Nanaimo will be transforming a portion of one of their municipal facilities into a shelter for the homeless amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The facility will be used to house people who have fallen ill to the novel coronavirus and who need somewhere to self-isolate.

The Community Service Building at 285 Prideaux St. in downtown Nanaimo will be designated as an Emergency Response Centre (ERC) and will provide approximately 35 emergency shelter spaces for the duration of the pandemic.

“The shelter is available to ensure that the homeless population or those at risk of homelessness won’t, in fact, be out in the community spreading the virus,” said Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog.

The 7-10 Club and Options for Sexual Health, which currently operate at the same facility, will remain on-site and continue serving the most vulnerable in the city.

However, some current tenants of the facility will be relocated by June 1, 2020 to make room for the ERC.

The new self-isolation shelter was created at the request of the province and is expected to be up and running by June.