A memorial was put up one night in early 2017 at the Langley City bus loop after a homeless man died of an overdose. Fraser Health has launched a new Intensive Care Management team that will offer help to those with severe addictions and who are homeless. Langley Times file photo

Fraser Health launches team in Langley to help the severely addicted

New Intensive Case Management Team will offer wrap-around services for most vulnerable

The new Intensive Case Management (ICM) team is up and running in Langley, to support people with severe substance disorders.

The team will help people who may be facing significant challenges related to health, mental health, housing, education and poverty, by connecting them to treatment and support services, such as helping them find a place to live and secure employment.

Fraser Health and B.C. Housing are funding the team, which is based out the Gateway of Hope for now while it does outreach work to connect with new clients.

“We know how important it is for people struggling with severe addiction to have supports in place that address not only their addiction, but also the specific factors that contribute, such as unemployment and homelessness,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.

“The Intensive Case Management team is a really good example of the holistic approach to care we believe is needed to support people on their road to recovery.”

The team-based approach includes a nurse practitioner, an addictions specialist, a psychiatrist, and peer support and housing outreach workers.

“The goal of this team, including our care providers and community partners, is supporting people to recover and integrate back into the community,” said Fraser Health Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Victoria Lee.

“We’ve seen the success of this through other ICM teams where clients have been connected to housing and appropriate health care practitioners for on-going continuing care and integrated into the community by obtaining personal identification, opening bank accounts, managing money and registering with the food bank.”

The other ICM team in the Fraser Health region is located in Maple Ridge and has been operating since the summer.

“We have many community partners coming together to support people in Langley who use substances and may have mental health challenges as well. This partnership is a positive step to help people in our community recover and integrate back into the community with stable housing and jobs so they can live a rewarding life,” said Township mayor Jack Froese.

Langley City mayor Ted Schaffer is looking forward to seeing the benefits of having the ICM team on the front lines.

Schaffer has been pushing for a team to serve this area, which has seen a large influx of people suffering from addiction and living on the streets.

SEE RELATED STORY HERE

“Having an ICM team in Langley is truly beneficial as it supports our most vulnerable population to receive the care they need and become active citizens in the community,” said Schaffer.

Fraser Health has contracted Langley Community Services to provide the service, working closely with Stepping Stone Services Society, Salvation Army – The Gateway of Hope, and Encompass Support Services Society.

In addition, Fraser Health has partnered with BC Housing and the ICM team will work closely with them, following a ‘Housing First’ philosophy that supports people who are homeless to obtain and maintain housing.

BC Housing has purchased the Quality Inn in Langley and has a submitted a rezoning application to the Township of Langley.

The plan is to convert the hotel into supportive housing for people who are transitioning out of homelessness and who need additional supports. The ICM team hopes to be based out of the Quality Inn, should the supportive housing project receive approval.

More than 500 people attended a meeting on the project with many expressing concern about some of the side effects that may come along such a facility.

SEE STORY HERE

The ICM team is part of Fraser Health’s multi-faceted strategy to address the overdose emergency in the region, said Lee.

Fraser Health is looking to expand its help with providing opioid addiction medications and treatments such as Suboxone by having a clinic here in Langley, said Lee.

“We have doctors ready to go and the clinical supports lined up to open a community treatment centre here in Langley, we just need the community support to get the approval process.”

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