Complex-care supports added to housing in Langley, Fraser South

PEOPLE in Langley and Fraser South living with complex mental-health and substance-use challenges who are at risk of, or experiencing homelessness, will benefit as the Province adds 50 complex-care housing spaces in the region.

The Province launched complex-care housing in January this year, with 100 spaces in Vancouver, Abbotsford and Surrey. Through Budget 2022, the Province is investing $164 million over the next three years to support as many as 500 spaces, including the 50 spaces announced in the Fraser Valley region.

“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. “Through this groundbreaking approach, people living in complex-care housing will get the supports they need right in their home.”

The ministry will partner with the Fraser Health Authority and the Provincial Health Services Authority to deliver these new complex care services. Employing a scattered site model, the location of each space will be determined by working with potential clients, housing providers and the care team.

In addition to the 50 spaces, the Province is creating two new teams to serve complex-care housing clients in Fraser South and Langley.

A new Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) team in Langley will provide flexible, community-based support for 25 adults with serious and persistent mental illness that makes it difficult to manage their daily living. Beginning in summer 2022, people will be housed in a rental suite and will receive services, including:

* crisis assessment and intervention;

* psychiatric/psychological treatment;

* medication management;

* supports for substance-use disorder;

* work-related services; and

* family support.

Services will be delivered by a team of mental-health practitioners from a variety of disciplines, including psychiatrists, social workers, nurses, substance use specialists, peer support workers and vocational specialists, who tailor the support to the needs of each client.

“The creation of a new Forensic Assertive Community Treatment team for the Fraser South region is an important step to assist people with serious mental-health and substance-use challenges involved with the criminal justice system,” said Dr. Vijay Seethapathy, Chief Medical Officer, BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services. “The multi-disciplinary team will work to improve the health of our clients, to divert them away from the criminal justice system and reduce recurring hospitalizations, and to provide enhanced services in their home communities.”

The Forensic Assertive Community Treatment (FACT) team, a first in B.C., will support 25 individuals in Fraser South with serious mental-health challenges who are involved with the criminal justice system. FACT is a specialized ACT model with providers and approaches aimed at preventing criminal justice issues.

The FACT team may include providers such as forensic psychiatry, substance-use care, social work, rehabilitation providers, occupational therapy, family support workers and others. People supported by FACT will receive rental supplements to live in rental housing.

Dr. Victoria Lee, President and CEO, Fraser Health, said: “We know that our most complex and vulnerable patients have unique care needs. The new ACT team in Langley will enable us to provide highly specialized wraparound services that will improve the daily functioning and overall health of these individuals.”