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Complex-care housing opens for Indigenous people in Cranbrook area

November 10, 2023 at 2:05 pm  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

People in Ktunaxa Nation communities living with complex mental-health and addiction challenges will benefit from new housing and tailored supports to help them stabilize their lives and break the cycle of homelessness.

“The toxic-drug crisis continues to have a greater impact on Indigenous people and communities than other B.C. residents,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Many people living with serious mental-health and addictions challenges have been left behind and neglected. Their complex needs often led to a cycle of evictions, shelters, and even emergency rooms and jail cells. Through this partnership, we are connecting people with vital housing, cultural supports and health-care services that will save lives.”

The Ktunaxa Nation operates the facility, which offers services primarily to First Nations, Inuit and Métis people in the Cranbrook area. These services are meant to meet the unique needs of individuals who have complex trauma from past and ongoing colonial impacts.

“Most of the staff at the site have Ktunaxa lineage or are otherwise connected to our communities,” said Debbie Whitehead, director, social investment sector, Ktunaxa Nation. “Those who want to give back to their community have been hired and we are providing ongoing training. They are looked at as aunty and uncle by the clients. Of the 12 staff, 10 are Ktunaxa. When you realize that this complex-care housing is a safe place for people who have been kicked out of every single institution, you realize how vital and welcome it is. It’s a last resort and a safe place.”

The program provides housing along with on-site services such as nursing, social workers, wellness supports, life skills training and access to harm-reduction resources. The Ktunaxa Nation Council provides services and programs that are trauma-informed, culturally safe and follow the Ktunaxa Nation Social Investment Sector Practice Framework. The complex-care team provides the majority of the medical care in partnership with Interior Health programs.

“It is a nice place because it is a safe place for me to go,” said Clifton Gravelle, resident and Ktunaxa citizen. “There is food when I am hungry. I don’t have to always come home. My bed is always there. I can go out, help my friends and then come home.”

Complex-care housing provides voluntary services to people who face mental-health and addiction challenges that overlap, often with other complex health issues such as brain injuries. Budget 2022 invested $164 million over three years to open 500 complex-care housing spaces for people in the province. Budget 2023 builds on that investment by committing an additional $266 million to fund these services, including $169 million in capital funding to build new homes.

To access services, call Debbie Whitehead at 250 489-2464.

Quote:

Rob Louie, Ktunaxa citizen

“Complex-care housing helped me transition back to Ktunaxa territory. It gave me the basic necessities of life, which in turn, has allowed me to be successful in personal and professional life. While in complex-care housing, I was treated with dignity, equality and respect.”

Quick Facts:

  • The Province is providing Ktunaxa Nation $3.7 million over three years for the provision of these services.
  • Since January 2022, the Province has announced services for 452 complex-care clients in communities throughout B.C.
  • Complex-care housing services have been announced in Abbotsford, Bella Coola, Chilliwack, Cranbrook, Kamloops, Kelowna, Langley, Maple Ridge, Nanaimo, North Shore, Powell River, Prince George, Sunshine Coast, Surrey, Terrace, Vancouver and Victoria.
  • As of Oct. 1, 2023, services are in place for as many as 347 people.

Learn More:

To learn about Ktunaxa Nation, visit: https://www.ktunaxa.org/

To learn about complex-care housing, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/mental-health-support-in-bc/complex-care-housing

To read A Pathway to Hope roadmap, government’s plan to build an integrated system of mental-health and addictions care for people in B.C., visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/BCMentalHealthRoadmap_2019.pdf

To read Belonging in BC, government’s plan to prevent and reduce homelessness, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/BelongingStrategy.pdf

To look at a map showing the location of all announced provincially funded housing projects in B.C., visit: https://www.bchousing.org/homes-for-BC

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