People in Greater Victoria living with complex mental-health and substance-use challenges who are at risk of, or experiencing homelessness will benefit as the Province adds 100 complex-care housing spaces to the region through Budget 2022.
The Province launched complex-care housing in January this year, with four sites located in Vancouver, Abbotsford and Surrey. Through Budget 2022, the Province is investing $164 million over the next three years to open new complex-care housing services to serve as many as 500 vulnerable people throughout the province, including 100 spaces in Greater Victoria.
“Complex-care housing is a groundbreaking approach for people with overlapping mental-health and substance-use challenges, traumatic and acquired brain injury," said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of of Mental Health and Addictions. “Often left homeless or risking eviction, people who access complex-care housing will get supports where they live from social workers, nurses, peer workers and other health professionals.”
Complex-care housing will be delivered in Greater Victoria by Island Health in partnership with BC Housing and non-profit service providers. It offers enhanced supports, including nurses, peer workers, social workers and other health-care professionals, along with connections to treatment and other specialized services. These spaces will be spread among several housing locations and are expected to be operational by 2023.
“I am pleased the Province has taken the initiative to implement complex-care housing in B.C.’s communities,” said Lisa Helps, mayor, City of Victoria. “Complex-care housing will make a real difference in the lives of our communities’ most vulnerable people by offering enhanced supports and services so urgently needed to increase their health and well-being.”
Complex-care housing is voluntary. Services follow the client, so if they move, the services will move with them. These services may include:
- medication-assisted treatment and recovery coaching;
- overdose prevention services;
- psychiatric services;
- primary-care services;
- family and peer supports;
- for Indigenous residents, ceremonial supports, connection to Elders;
- skills training and counselling; and
- cooking and meal support.
“These complex-care health services will help the highest-needs clients living with significant mental-health and substance-use challenges receive the level of care and supports they require,” said Leah Hollins, chair of the board of directors, Island Health. “We are grateful for the partnership with the provincial government, BC Housing and housing operators for supporting this most vulnerable population.”
These investments are part of government’s broader provincial homelessness strategy, which will be released in spring 2022.
Grace Lore, MLA for Victoria-Beacon Hill –
“For far too long, people with complex needs — some of the most vulnerable people in our communities — have been left behind. These members of our community deserve care and appropriate housing. Our government is listening to those who say we need a more comprehensive system to house those with the most serious mental-health and substance-use challenges. These 100 complex-care housing spaces will help those in our community who need them most.”
Ron Merk, co-chair, Port Alberni Community Action Team and complex-care housing family representative –
“Healing starts with a safe place to lay your head at night. The new B.C. government initiative to create low-barrier complex-care housing is a significant step in addressing the needs of the most vulnerable people in our community, people with overlapping health challenges who need housing. This initiative begins to close a gap in services that has existed for some time. I am encouraged by this progress and look forward to future expansion of this service.”
Learn more about complex-care housing: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2022MMHA0005-000083
Learn about A Pathway to Hope, government’s vision for mental-health and addictions care in B.C.: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021MMHA0049-001787