Photo: Kristen Holiday
Sheila Malcolmson, provincial minister of mental health and addictions, announced more addictions treatment and recovery support for the Interior Health region on Tuesday.
BC’s Minister of Mental Health and Addictions says plans are underway to bring complex care housing to Kamloops and Kelowna, with the option of funding 20 beds per city.
While in Kamloops on Wednesday to announce the addition of 35 new care beds Inside, Sheila Malcolmson said she knows there’s “a lot of appetite” for complex care beds in those two communities.
Complex care beds are for people with untreated mental health and addictions issues or brain injuries who have not had access to enough health care or other supports to stabilize.
“It will fill an unmet need. And we know there’s a lot of focus and hope for that,” Malcolmson said.
Malcolmson said $164 million was secured in February to create complex care housing, administered and provided by health authorities, for 500 vulnerable people across the province.
She said that the framework for this type of housing was built with the participation of representatives of municipalities, health professionals, peers and indigenous organizations.
“We had a really, really good idea that in different communities, complex care housing would express itself in different ways. Both Kelowna and Kamloops were communities that wanted to implement in a way that was a little different from what had been done in other parts of the province,” Malcolmson said.
“For Kamloops and Kelowna, we got funding, [we] anticipate that there will be 20 beds for each community. But the funding so far has been for the planning process. And that is actively happening right now, with very constructive engagement from city leaders at the staff level and Interior Health.
Malcolmson said some municipalities want complex care beds immediately instead of new construction, but that conversation is “ongoing” with Kamloops and Kelowna.
“In both cases, the municipalities have very constructively offered that they could have land, but we feel the urgency to connect vulnerable people to care. And that’s news that we really hope to have something concrete to tell people soon, but that’s because we’re working with people on the ground to make sure we get it right.
Malcolmson said a total of 285 complex care accommodation beds have been announced so far, including 100 beds set up at four sites in Abbotsford, Vancouver and Surrey.
“We’ve announced a total of 285 complex care housing beds, but it’s only on those first 100 that we’re starting to see people stabilize and hear what it means for them to have – it’s almost like home care, home support, but for someone with mental health and addictions,” Malcolmson said.