New transitional housing, integrated health care supports coming to Sea to Sky region

A new model of integrated transitional housing and healthcare services will soon be supporting people with complex mental health, health and housing needs in the Sea-to-Sky region.

The new program provides housing, respite and health services in a home-like setting for up to 10 individuals who may benefit from more focused, wrap-around supports. Those supports consist of specialized mental health and substance use care, peer support, cultural support including Indigenous Cultural Support Workers, Elders and Knowledge Keepers, tenant, building and food services. The program is a collaboration between the Province, BC Housing, Vancouver Coastal Health, the District of Squamish, and local partners.

“The toxic drug crisis continues to have a devastating impact on people and communities,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Many people living with serious mental health and addictions challenges have been left behind and neglected. With our partners in Squamish, we are providing safe housing to the most vulnerable people, while also planning and delivering the health care they need right where they live.” 

The program will serve adults, 19 years of age or older, experiencing unstable housing, mental health, substance use, and other health challenges and complexities. Clients will be welcome for short-term stays, ranging from three days to three months, based on individualized housing and care plans.  An inter-disciplinary team will support clients as they work toward their immediate housing and healthcare goals while transitioning to longer-term supports wherever possible.

“We know that communities are safer and healthier when people have housing and the supports like the kinds offered at this new building,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing. “This project illustrates the dedication of various levels of government and organizations working together to end the cycle of homelessness. Thank you to all involved for bringing this project from idea to reality.”

Located in Squamish, the new transitional housing will be available to residents from across the Sea to Sky region. This initiative aligns with District of Squamish Council’s strategic priority of Connected and Livable Community by increasing the diversity of housing forms.

“We have an urgent need for additional housing for folks experiencing housing insecurity and who require a circle of supports to care for their health and wellbeing, and we are grateful to be working with our community partners to create access to safe shelter and supports for some of our most vulnerable residents,” said District of Squamish Mayor Armand Hurford. “We recognize there are members of our community who are struggling. Bringing people together to increase our supports will help to create a stronger, healthier, safer community for all our citizens.”

Transitional housing clients will develop individualized health care plans and participate in life skills programming. This model of care helps reduce demand on acute care services, instances of housing instability and crisis in the community.

“We're pleased to be working with our community partners to provide this innovative model of care for those experiencing housing insecurity and health challenges,” said Ira Roness, Director of North Shore and Sea to Sky Mental Health and Substance Use Services at VCH. “Transitional housing offers high levels of health and social supports that will strengthen the care we provide to our clients.”

Turning Point Recovery Society will operate the new transitional housing, which provides residents with a safe, inclusive environment alongside embedded health care supports. This approach brings stability and connection for residents and surrounding community. Turning Point is committed to being a good neighbour, has extensive experience operating similar programs in the region and throughout the Lower Mainland, making a difference in the communities they serve.

“Turning Point looks forward to working with our community partners and funders to expand the continuum of services we offer in the Sea to Sky Region,” said Brenda Plant, Executive Director for Turning Point Recovery Society. “This transitional housing program will provide individuals in need of stable housing and supports, a safe, inclusive and welcoming environment within which they can reclaim their health and dignity and quality of life.”

The new transitional housing will be located at 38108 Fourth Avenue in Squamish and first residents will be welcomed before fall 2024.

November 16, 2023

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