Indigenous community members in Bella Coola with complex mental-health and substance-use challenges who are at risk of experiencing homelessness will soon benefit from 12 new complex-care housing spaces.
Through Budget 2022, government is investing $164 million over three years to support as many as 500 vulnerable people. Since launching the initiative in January, the Province has announced 253 complex-care spaces in communities throughout B.C.
Complex-care housing is a groundbreaking approach to support people who have overlapping mental-health and substance-use issues, and trauma and acquired brain injuries. The project is being undertaken in partnership with the Nuxalk Nation and Vancouver Coastal Health.
“For too long, people with complex mental-health and addiction needs were left behind, often leading to a cycle of eviction, homelessness, emergency rooms and sometimes jail,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Our partnership with the Nuxalk Nation and Vancouver Coastal Health is a crucial step towards reconciliation. These new complex-care housing spaces for Indigenous people in Bella Coola will provide culturally safe and respectful supports and help break the cycle of homelessness."
Unique to Bella Coola is a Nuxalk-led project, Nukw’pstayctalsim, which means a place to regain health and well-being. This partnership between the Province, Vancouver Coastal Health, and Nuxalk Health and Wellness responds to the recommendations contained in the report In Plain Sight for local, culturally focused health-care solutions.
"We are very pleased to announce this partnership with Vancouver Coastal Health and the Province to provide the wellness supports that are so needed in our community," said Samuel Schooner, chief councillor, Nuxalk Nation. "This complex-care housing plan is an example of the innovative service-delivery models that can be created when Indigenous communities are brought to the table as equal partners, and we are looking forward to beginning this important work."
Comprehensive support services offered in the complex-care housing units will include traditional wellness workers, Elders, healers, knowledge holders and land-based healing programs. The spaces will offer a variety of other supports, depending on individual needs, for example:
- mental-health workers;
- overdose prevention services;
- medication management;
- peer supports;
- skills training; and
- cooking and meal support.
“We are fortunate to have such a great partnership with the Nuxalk Nation and the Province to serve the needs of Indigenous members of the community in a way that is culturally safe and respectful of their right to choose,” said Leslie Bonshor, vice-president of Indigenous health, Vancouver Coastal Health. “We will continue to collaborate with our partners to build a culturally safe health-care system that provides the best health outcomes for Indigenous patients and residents.”
Jennifer Rice, MLA for North Coast, said: “Indigenous people in Bella Coola with complex mental-health challenges will soon have access to the supports they need, right in a home of their own. We are honoured to be partnering with the Nuxalk Nation and Vancouver Coastal Health to bring 12 complex-care housing spaces to Bella Coola to serve people with overlapping mental-health and substance-use challenges, and traumatic and acquired brain injury.”
Vancouver Coastal Health is working with the Nuxalk Nation and providers to identify appropriate locations for the complex-care spaces in the Bella Coola region. The new spaces are expected to open in late 2022.
To learn more about complex-care housing, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2032MMHA0005-000083
To learn about A Pathway to Hope, government’s vision for mental-health and addictions care, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021MMHA0049-001787
To learn more about Budget 2022 investments that address homelessness, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2022AG0012-000369
To read the report In Plain Sight, visit: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/app/uploads/sites/613/2020/11/In-Plain-Sight-Summary-Report.pdf