To the editor:
Re: "Rainer resident worries about loss of hotel's addiction programs," Nov. 21.
Despite suggestions in your recent article, Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) is not abandoning women at the Rainier Hotel or the Downtown Eastside.
When the Rainier Women's Treatment Program began as a pilot recovery project for addicted women in 2009, it did so entirely with Health Canada funds and a clear understanding that it would end in November 2012. VCH acknowledged that once the pilot ended, the women would need to be supported through existing services using existing funds. Contrary to comments in your article, there never has been "money... from the provincial government" for this program.
The transition from federally funded to VCH programs is about to commence. At the same time, BC Housing has confirmed it will continue to provide a housing subsidy for the tenants in the Rainier, which means the women will not have to move, nor will they be without the health care services they need. They will be able to stay where they are and still have access to a comprehensive range of health care services.
The Portland Hotel Society (PHS), which was contracted to manage the housing and provide non-clinical support services for the Rainier Women's Treatment Program, was aware from the start that this was the direction when the Health Canada funding would end. PHS has also committed to help VCH work with these women as they transition to the next phase of health care delivery that supports their ongoing recovery.
The reality is that every effort is being taken to make sure that no woman will be placed at risk when the Health Canada funding ends.
Our priority now is to support these women and focus on their needs as they move along the courageous road to recovery and independence - the real heart and soul of the Rainier.
Joanne Bezzubetz, Executive Director - Vancouver Community Health (VCH)
Dr. Rolando Barrios, Senior Medical Director - Vancouver Community Health (VCH)
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