The Intensive Case Management (ICM) team that works with the homeless and addicted reached its maximum case load in just five months. File photo

New Langley City program to help homeless overloaded after just five months

Mayor Ted Schaffer appeals for more resources in letter to health minister

A new program to help the homeless, addicted and mentally ill in Langley City ran out of room for new clients in just five months.

A letter from Mayor Ted Schaffer to Adrian Dix, the provincial health minister, said the new Intensive Case Management (ICM) team had 72 open files by February of 2018, the most it can handle.

By June, the backlog had reached 23 people, who are on a wait list.

The June 22 letter was recently published as part of an online council agenda on the City website.

The ICM team includes a nurse practitioner, an addictions specialist, a psychiatrist, and peer support and housing outreach workers who work together to help people with issues of 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.

The Schaffer letter, which was copied to the Fraser Health Authority, said the team will need another full-time peer support worker, two trauma counselors and three additional case managers to provide treatment to the estimated 206 homeless in the city (based on B.C. Housing stats).

“To this end, Langley City is formally requesting that the Ministry of Health and Fraser Health Authority provide additional resources to the team so that they are able to provide treatment to those individuals in the community who are desperately in need of those services,” Schaffer said.

READ MORE: Fraser Health launches team in Langley to help the severely addicted

READ MORE: Langley City goes it alone on Homelessness Action Table

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

Figures provided by the Langley City ICM team said they are dealing with clients who are an average of 43 years old, two-thirds of them male, one-third female.

About two out every three have mental health or drug addiction issues, most often involving methamphetamine, which was the primary drug of choice, at 41 per cent.

Next was heroin, which was the primary choice for 22 per cent, followed by alcohol (16 per cent).

Roughly two-thirds of ICM clients have had previous mental health or substance abuse treatment.

Nine out of 10 were homeless.

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