NDP says addictions can be helped with ‘a cup of tea’: B.C. Liberals

THE B.C. Liberals on Monday said that when asked about the NDP’s poor record of providing full wraparound supports for people struggling with addictions in supportive housing units, Minister of Municipal Affairs Selina Robinson said: “there is someone on site who will sit down [with residents] and have a cup of tea.”

“When you hear the term ‘wraparound supports’ concerning supportive housing, you think of a team of physicians, nurse practitioners, clinical staff, counsellors and outreach workers,” said Joan Isaacs, MLA for Coquitlam-Burke Mountain. “Unfortunately, Selina Robinson confirmed that’s not the case in many of the NDP’s so-called ‘supportive housing’ units.”

During budget estimates debate for the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Isaacs asked the minister to further define the “24/7 wraparound supports” the NDP claim they are providing to people in supportive housing. Robinson answered that it equates to someone to “have a cup of tea with” and does not include on-site clinical care.

“The NDP has essentially admitted that they are not funding the 24/7 clinical wraparound supports and services that are required to help those with addictions,” said Jane Thornthwaite, Critic for Mental Health and Addictions. “Simply moving people into hotels without these services will not get our vulnerable citizens the help that they need and, instead, it just moves the problems into another neighbourhood.”

“It’s important to have someone to talk with and provide support when you need it and we’re not denying that,” said Isaacs. “But the term ‘24-7, wraparound service’ implies that clinical support is there when it’s not. According to the Minister, our province’s vulnerable populations in supportive housing don’t actually have that support and that’s disappointing and deeply troubling.”

Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister defining “24/7 wraparound supports” during budget estimates debate for the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing on July 9: