The North Wind Wellness Centre (NWWC) has committed itself to addressing and preventing homelessness and addiction in Northeast BC. In terms of prevention, North Wind concurs that “we cannot build ourselves out of homelessness” – rather, we need to address the underlying root causes of homelessness. While homelessness is multi-faceted, it is understood that there can often be a relationship between homelessness and addiction.
Historically, BC has struggled to address the issue of addiction. Addiction is a complex health and social issue that has significant relationships to the social determinants of health. Any response to addiction at the systems level requires an understanding of the interrelationship between homelessness and addiction, addiction and trauma, and addiction and the social determinants of health.
At a systems level, what we know is that the system of supports for people seeking recovery is fragmented. There are many high quality, evidence-informed programs across the province providing exceptional care and support to people with addiction. Unfortunately these programs are disjointed, not easily accessible, often have long waitlists and after-care supports are lacking (or not sufficiently addressed); not to mention the gap in providing a complete continuum of care that would enable recovery to become effective. Most treatment programs do not focus on client intentions in terms of education/training, employment or meaningful activities. Furthermore, many programs do not harness the resources of the broader recovery community (i.e., peers, families and friends contemplating a recovery journey; people in long-term recovery, their families, friends and allies; recovery-focused professionals; and organizations whose members reflect pathways of recovery).
The intent of this business case is to present a viable solution of how the Northeast of BC can build Addiction Recovery Community Housing that is ‘health care lite’ and addresses the fragmentation in the treatment system, has a foundational housing component, is recovery oriented and is largely led by people in recovery.