Wellness and recovery in an office building?
I understand and agree with those who protested against the location VIHA chose for the Wellness and Recovery Centre. I appreciate them putting time and energy into posing the question as to whether this, in the long run, will do more harm than good.
However, I think the question is of a much wider scope than simply location. Do the administrators at VIHA really think that people who are in mental and emotional anguish coupled with drug dependencies are going to find wellness and recovery in an office building?
Why are they putting stable, modest income neighbourhoods at further risk? They have already mismanaged home care to the detriment of our seniors, will they now bungle the care of people who are struggling living on the street? A bandaid on an infection is not enough. Why can they not emulate the many successful models found worldwide? Right here, in beautiful settings in our Valley, there is Hope Farm for addiction recovery.
There is the thinking that people that are homeless need to be centrally located to access services. I think this is a fundamental misconception. I think an environment in which they can live, learn, work, and recreate would be more effective for wellness and recovery.
Why doesn’t VIHA direct our tax dollars to the purchase of some acreage and create a place where people can engage in gardening, food production, animal husbandry, cooking, repairing equipment, and sing and dance? If they don’t want to be a farmer, at least they can relearn how to live in community while developing some transferrable skills. Then the additional services might actually be useful.
I recognize that many of the people who are homeless aren’t, at this point, ready to step up to such an offer. Cedars Cobble Hill, again in a quiet remote location, could be used as another excellent model.
It is unfortunate that VIHA can strong arm their way into minimalist, misdirected problem solving without any municipal or public input. Though some have accessed shelter at Warmland House, the promises made to the community by CMHC were never kept. Even at the peak of crises, all that happened were police raids and a fence put up on public property. Sadly, I expect the same for the Wellness and Recovery Centre.