Housing for drug users with mental health issues to be offered in Nanaimo

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NANAIMO, B.C. — Substance users with serious mental health issues in Nanaimo are expected to get access to so-called complex-care housing under an initiative offering services like addiction medicine, social workers and education on overdose prevention.

Mental Health and Addictions Minister Sheila Malcolmson has announced the project in the Vancouver Island community alongside Mayor Leonard Krog, and she says in a release that the aim is to provide services in existing supportive housing.

The complex-care housing approach was launched earlier this year, with services also announced in other areas including Abbotsford, Kamloops, Bella Coola, Langley, Powell River, Surrey, Vancouver and Victoria.

The Mental Health and Addictions Ministry says complex-care spaces in Nanaimo would be ramped up gradually, for up to 30 people, by 2025.

It says people dealing with trauma and brain injury would be among those who benefit from the initiative because they are often at risk of becoming homeless.

Krog says complex-care housing is needed in the city, where street disorder can seem overwhelming sometimes.

"We have real challenges, and this is an important part of the solution," he said in the release.

Island Health will deliver the services in partnership with BC Housing and local service providers.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 25, 2022.

The Canadian Press