Back in 2006, the City of Nanaimo asked us to join with Island Health and a local provider to take on a day use program called the living room. The concept with the living room was to provide a shelter space where those living on the street could come for a coffee, a pastries and fruit; to look for housing; internet use; a place to do laundry; and was intended as a place to have a shower.
Our own master plan calls for s similar program, but with supervised self-medications; a place to sleep during the day; lockers to keep stuff safe while sleeping; education and immediate access to doctors.
We have reach out to Island Health, The Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, and the City of Nanaimo and while many seem to agree with our plan, not much action has taken place on that front – mostly because we are not a non-profit organization.
We are looking for a partner to seek the funding, and to manage this life saving program and to work in collaboration with all internal stakeholders.
From the property owner’s perspective, some assistance in leasehold improvements and rent may be available.
No matter what you call it, we are looking to offer a place where someone in need to self-medicate, not choose, but who needs to self-medicate whether in a doorway, on the street, near a school, at home, in a bathroom – or anywhere that is convenient from dealer to consumption; a place to make themselves feel better under the direct supervision of a trained professional.
This program is part of our intake initiative to help move those who are not currently in a drug substitution program access to the physicians in the building in a timely fashion with the goal of moving them away from the need to consume street drugs and to work at getting back into society and other help.
Have you ever seen a bus with a shopping cart strapped to the bike rack?
No? Neither have we.
Not everyone has access to a regular clinic that you and I would attend. Not everyone feels comfortable not having a shower for days, or has all their property in a buggy or cart attending a regular clinic for fear of being stigmatized. Let’s face it. Most people would feel uncomfortable with marginalized people sitting next to the them waiting for a doctor.
So, the person in need of treatment doesn’t receive it.
While regular patients of the clinics at this building have access to family care through their addiction physician, we are looking to open an office for those who fall between the cracks.
Talk to us about how you can help.