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Supports increased for people with complex care needs

April 15, 2024 at 2:16 pm  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

People facing complex mental-health, addiction and housing challenges will benefit from better access to housing with the wraparound supports they need.

Two hundred and forty new complex-care housing (CCH) units, as announced in the Province’s Homes for People plan in 2023, are coming to communities in B.C. to provide people with overlapping mental-health challenges, developmental disabilities, addiction issues, trauma, and/or acquired brain injuries the care they need where they live.

Two hundred of these units will be in Abbotsford, Burnaby, Kamloops, Kelowna, Nanaimo, New Westminster, Prince George, Sechelt, Surrey, Vancouver and Victoria. The remaining 40 units will be Indigenous-led and the Province is working closely with Indigenous groups to identify partners and priority communities.  

“People dealing with serious mental-health, addiction and housing challenges are often left behind,” says Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Their complex needs can lead to a cycle of evictions, stays in shelters and repeated visits to emergency rooms. We’re supporting more complex-care housing, so more people can get the co-ordinated care they need right in their own homes, and they can live happier and healthier lives in their communities and remain connected to their support networks.”

The City of Kelowna has been a strong advocate for complex-care housing and work is underway in the community, where partners are coming together to prepare for next steps. This project will include 20 newly constructed complex-care housing units and at least 20 supportive housing units. The project will soon be going to design phase and engagement with the neighbourhood will commence. Projects in other communities are expected to proceed in the coming months and updates will be provided on each project as they begin to take shape.

CCH provides voluntary and person-centred health and social supports under one roof where people live and for as long as they need it. Services are planned and co-ordinated by health-care partners and delivered in partnership with housing operators. In some communities, the new units will be in stand-alone buildings. In others, CCH units may be combined with supportive housing or other affordable housing units.

“As a social worker specializing in complex care, my role revolves around providing personalized support to individuals navigating complex challenges,” said Ashley Halston, social worker, Interior Health. “With the introduction of dedicated complex-care units in both Kelowna and Kamloops, our ability to provide patient-focused care is significantly increased, enabling us to address the diverse needs of those we serve with greater effectiveness and compassion.”

Launched in 2022, CCH services are already in place for 443 people around the province. CCH is specifically designed for those whose mental-health and addiction issues overlap with significant functional needs or other serious health conditions, such as brain injuries or mobility impairments.

Health-care and social support teams work alongside the individual and their support network to develop personalized care plans aimed at maintaining their housing and improving their quality of life. This collaborative, wraparound approach focuses on reducing hospital visits and interactions with law enforcement to support long-term well-being.

“Today’s announcement is a celebrated and much-needed investment in our community, as we strive to provide dignified and compassionate care and housing for our most vulnerable residents,” said Tom Dyas, mayor of Kelowna. “We are proud to have contributed municipal land for this new site and to have worked closely with government and agency partners on finding solutions for complex challenges of social, health, housing and safety issues. This project will have a significant impact on the health and safety of our community as we continue to grow.”

Complex-care housing is a part of the Province’s Safer Communities Action Plan, which is taking action to address the biggest challenges to keep people safe and communities strong. This initiative is supported by Budget 2023, which committed $266 million to fund these services, including $169 million in capital funding to build new homes in the province.   

Quotes:

Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing –

“People who have complex health issues overlapping with housing insecurity challenges are often caught up in a cycle of homelessness. The expansion of complex-care housing throughout the province means more people can access personalized care tailored to their specific needs. Integrated health, social and cultural supports are essential to providing a pathway to secure housing and well-being.”

Susan Brown, president and CEO, Interior Health –

“In addition to our existing complex-care beds, these 40 new units mark another step forward to better supporting individuals facing complex mental-health, substance use and housing challenges. This expansion emphasizes Interior Health’s dedication to provide integrated care right where people live to enhance the health and well-being for all.”

Learn More:

To learn more about mental-health and addictions supports in B.C., visit: https://helpstartshere.gov.bc.ca/

To learn more about the Safer Communities Action Plan, visit: https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/safer-communities/

To learn more about complex-care housing, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/managing-your-health/mental-health-substance-use/complex-care-housing

To learn more about Homes for People plan, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2023HOUS0019-000436

For a backgrounder about the communities receiving CCH units, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/BG_CCH_Expansion.pdf

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