VICTORIA - The Province has reached an agreement with the Portland Hotel Society (PHS) to protect health and housing services for the organization's clients.
The board of directors resigned and a new interim board has been appointed to oversee the restructuring of PHS operations. The senior management team was terminated by the outgoing board and will be replaced by an interim executive selected by Vancouver Coastal Health and BC Housing. Together, the interim board and management team will implement a restructuring process aimed at maintaining existing services.
Significant concerns about Portland Hotel Society management practices were identified through an external financial review conducted by KPMG Forensic for BC Housing and an internal audit by Vancouver Coastal Health Authority. The findings include:
- Unsupported expenses, including out-of-country travel, entertainment and catering;
- Misuse of corporate credit cards, missing receipts and inadequate approval of expenses;
- Unusual payments to affiliate companies set up and owned by PHS personnel; and
- Inadequate criminal record checks, contrary to the Criminal Record Review Act, that increased the risk of abuse to vulnerable adults.
BC Housing's Financial Review is available at: http://www.bchousing.org/resources/Media_Centre/PHS/PHS_Financial_Review.pdf
The VCH audit is available at: www.vch.ca/about_us/accountability/audit-reports/audit-reports
Rich Coleman Minister of Natural Gas Development and Responsible for Housing -
"The Province took this action to safeguard public funds and ensure that more than 1,000 people who depend on housing and support services from the organization continue to receive the care they need. It will allow us to avoid the costs involved with court action and move quickly to address the financial and operational issues that threaten the programs and services delivered by the society."
Terry Lake Minister of Health -
"Our primary concern is to prevent any disruption to the health care services provided to clients and residents of the Portland Hotel Society. This is a serious action. It is imperative that public dollars - including those provided to third-party organizations under contract - are spent appropriately and in accordance with contractual requirements."
The majority of the Portland Hotel Society's revenues come from government. In 2013:
- BC Housing provided $8.8 million to PHS to provide housing and support services at 15 buildings in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.
- Vancouver Coastal Health provided PHS with $8.3 million for 17 contracts across the same community.
- Faye Wightman, chair, current member of BCH Board of Commissioners
- Andy Broderick, VP Community Investment, Vancity
- Craig Crawford, VP Operations, BC Housing
- Dr. Patty Daly, VCH chief medical health officer
- Ida Goodreau, former VCH president & CEO
- Sandra Heath, current VCH board member
- Glenn McCurdy, SPV CEO Bouygues Energies & Services Canada
- Jim O'Dea, Terra Housing Consultants
Vancouver Coastal Health
604 312-1148 (cell)
Ministry of Natural Gas Development and Responsible for Housing