B.C. to add 240 complex-care housing units in communities throughout the province

KELOWNA, B.C. — British Columbia is planning to add 240 new units to its complex-care housing program, providing homes for people with mental-health and addictions challenges that overlap with other serious conditions.

The Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions says in a statement 200 of the units will be located in Abbotsford, Burnaby, Kamloops, Kelowna, Nanaimo, New Westminster, Prince George, Sechelt, Surrey, Vancouver and Victoria.

The remaining 40 units will be Indigenous-led and the statement says officials are working with Indigenous groups to identify partners and "priority communities."

Mental Health and Addictions Minister Jennifer Whiteside says the complex needs of people dealing with overlapping health challenges, such as brain injuries or developmental disabilities, can lead to "a cycle of evictions, stays in shelters and repeated visits to emergency rooms."

Whiteside's statement says the housing units will provide people the co-ordinated care they need in their own home.

In Kelowna, where Monday's announcement took place, the latest project will include 20 newly built complex-care units and at least 20 more supportive housing units.

The development will soon enter the design phase along with community engagement, while projects in other communities are expected to proceed in the coming months, the government says.

The City of Kelowna contributed municipal land for the project, Mayor Tom Dyas adds in the statement.

B.C. launched complex-care housing services in 2022 and supports are in place for more than 400 people.

The program is designed for people whose mental-health and addictions challenges overlap with "significant functional needs or other serious health conditions," the government says.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 15, 2024.

The Canadian Press