How Staples Professional worked with BC Housing to offer support during a time of need


The COVID-19 pandemic has placed additional tension on many economic factors that were already strained. The current housing crisis in British Columbia is one of them.

To help people experiencing homelessness during the pandemic, there was an immediate need to create indoor spaces with physical distancing in place. BC Housing secured community centres, arenas and halls. It was important to provide a dignified solution, by using partitions for people to physically distance, and beds and furniture for comfort.

It would also need to be portable, arrive fast, and easy to assemble. The team at BC Housing took their concern to social media, where it caught the attention of a Staples Professional Sales Representative. Our Representative reached out to BC Housing to show how we could help with a quick furniture solution.


The Staples Professional operations team recommended SafeSpace24 WatchPods. The modular design of the WatchPods was a necessary solution. SafeSpace24’s WatchPods are pop up hospitaltype rooms that can be set up within 60 seconds. Their 5-foot-tall pod is designed to keep a partition between individuals receiving treatment, with the comfort of privacy and distance.

The space includes a bed, bedside cabinet, along with durable materials and infection control surfaces. There are additional options for guest seating and electrical outlets for installation. They also meet health and safety requirements to safely isolate. BC Housing knew these would meet the physical distancing needs, but also protect the dignity and privacy of people temporarily living in these spaces.


The Staples Professional team rapidly delivered 664 WatchPods to multiple locations across BC. The team was agile and diverted supply trucks to provide quick delivery. The WatchPod’s installation began in April and was completed by mid-May.

“BC Housing is grateful to the Staples Professional team for working with us on this solution in record time. These 664 WatchPods, in addition to the commitment and efforts of our non-profit, private sector and municipal partners, ensure that 664 people across BC have access to safe, private and comfortable space to allow them to safely physically distance with dignity during COVID-19.” Shayne Ramsay, Chief Executive Officer, BC Housing.

BC Housing works in partnership with the private and non-profit sectors, provincial health authorities and ministries, other levels of government and community groups to develop a range of housing options and to address critical gaps across the housing continuum. These gaps range from emergency shelter and rent assistance in the private market to affordable home ownership. They work with about 800 housing providers and help more than 110,000 households in communities across British Columbia.

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