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B.C.’s new centre for the homeless after six months

January 26th, 2009 · 8 Comments

I got a chance recently to go out to the new Burnaby Centre for Mental Health & Addictions, the centre that was announced last February by Premier Gordon Campbell as part of a new push to treat the mentally ill + addicted + often homeless and physically sick.

It’s been open since June and taking on some of the most troubled in the Downtown Eastside, people who have a lot of problems and weren’t using the existing services down there for whatever reason. You can read my story about the dream facility they’ve created here.

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  • LP

    Wonderful article Frances!

    Although I can already hear several complaining about taxpayer funded yoga classes, I for one applaud the approach.

    It will be interesting to hear the anti-Liberal and Gordo bashers come out and say it’s too little too late, blah blah blah……

    They all seem to be too stuck in their circle of criticism to actually give credit when some is due.

  • Dawn Steele

    This is the first I’ve heard of this program but it sounds like a great success story – thanks for sharing it!

    Dare we hope for more capacity to meet the need out there? I also wondered what happens to the people when they finish this program. Is there a follow-up/re-integration program that tracks & supports graduates until they’re on their feet and self-supporting again?

  • NRF

    Could we not apply this enlightened approach to youth? Yes, it’s expensive but the value of recovering young people would be even greater. Those of us who approve of these approaches must communicate with the provincial government. Campbell will do this only for political favour, not because he believes in the objectives.

  • Thanks for the insightful ‘Globe piece, Frances.

    What’s your sense after reporting this: Do Campbell and Coleman view this as a high-water mark? Or a pilot program, the first of many more to come?

    If this is a pilot for more such treatment to come, B.C. could find itself saving not only lives but also hundreds of million of dollars a year in taxes spent on these sorts of people in the form of emergency calls, health expenses and justice system expenses.

  • urb anwriter

    My only beef, really, is that my doctor (among others) was one of those that left the DES for this project. My doctor, bless their socks, was tired of dealing with patients who (those able to, obviously) had no intention of ‘cleaning up their act’ at anytime in the foreseeable future.

    That lack of consideration cost me the best doctor I’ve had in 50-odd years.

  • I read this article this morning, in the print edition, no less. It’s a great piece of progress in dealing with mental illness and addiction. I’m always disheartened when people take a hard line about these problems and say ‘why can’t they just clean up their act’ or even better ‘they choose to live that way’ (and I’m sorta looking at your comment as I write that, Urban Writer), but I rarely have concrete examples where a compassionate approach works. Here’s one. Thanks for bringing this good news story to us.

  • Very nice article.

    I’ve heard that the centre staff was very surprised at the extremely high level of need among the patient base, and also that there is, sadly, more palliative care needed than was originally anticipated.

  • A. G. Tsakumis

    Great piece. Great questions by Monte.