VICTORIA -- After shutting its doors for months during the first wave of the COVID-19 crisis, Victoria homeless shelter Our Place is seeing a steady return to its version of normal.

“For many people, hundreds of people, this is their day home,"said Our Place CEO Julian Daly. "This is where they come to get food, to get services, to meet their friends and be part of a really strong community, and they’ve not been able to be part of that for months."

Before the pandemic hit, the drop-in shelter on Pandora Avenue was serving upwards of 1,400 meals per day. Now, it’s more like 800 meals per day, but that figure is climbing as more and more people return. 

“It’s taken a bit of time to build the numbers because it takes time for word to go out that we’re fully open,” Daly said. 

Our Place reopened five weeks ago after shutting its doors in March, and has now relaunched all of its services. 

Everything from showers to computer rooms and daily meals are back, with new health protocols and public safety measures in place. 

“We’re still doing three meals a day,” Daly said. 

“But we can only have up to about 40 people in there because we have to keep physical distancing”

The shelter is also planning for a possible second wave of COVID-19. If it comes, a second full-scale shutdown won't be required. 

“We did it before for really good reasons, but I think we’ve learned some things from that now and I think we’ve found ways we could stay open and stay safe,” Daly said.