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Kamloops concerned Logan Lake rehab centre is discharging clients downtown

The VisionQuest Recovery Society, located near Logan Lake.
Image Credit: GOOGLE MAPS
November 21, 2020 - 7:30 AM

Kamloops City staff members met with representatives of a drug rehabilitation centre located near Logan Lake to express their concerns that discharged clients were being regularly dropped-off into downtown. 

Ty Helgason, Social and Community Development Supervisor for the City, said a report of a minivan dropping people off downtown prompted an investigation which led to the VisionQuest Recovery Society. 

Helgason said the concern was that this practice created an inflow to homelessness in the community. 

Helgason, along with two council members, city management team staff and RCMP Supt. Syd Leckie, met with VisionQuest representatives at the facility to share their concerns. 

"It's really important that when people discharge, you transport them back to their home community, you can't just discharge everybody to Kamloops," Helgason said. "That’s a point we made very clear: Avoid discharging people into Kamloops as much as you can, unless they’re from here."

The program takes on clients from across the province, in addition to running two other centres in Surrey and Abbotsford. 

However, Executive Director of VisionQuest Megan Worley said that they already avoided discharging clients to Kamloops, and only did so if they had no other option.

"That is a last resort, we try to find them different locations to go to first," Worley said. "We're not allowed to just let them walk out if we can stop it."

She added they are heavily mandated and required to ensure clients have safe shelter upon discharge.

The concern expressed by the city was that VisionQuest was repeatedly bringing discharged clients to Kamloops contributing to homelessness. Following their meeting, Worley looked through all the VisionQuest client records over the past four months to determine how many clients had been discharged to Kamloops, who weren't from there originally. 

"It's been two people," she said. "So, I can guarantee you we're not bussing them to the shelter… we don't even have a bus." 

Over the same period of time, the number of clients who were discharged to Kamloops who were originally from there was a total of six. 

The City requested that VisionQuest notify the Canadian Mental Health Association and local shelters when they are bringing clients to Kamloops who can't be discharged elsewhere.

"We just want to make sure that when those instances come up, we deal with that disconnect and make sure everybody’s on the same page," Helgason said.

Worley said she's been advocating for a partnership, and in light of the opioid crisis and pandemic, it's now more important than ever.

"Kamloops is a neighbour of ours, so we're trying to develop this relationship," she said. "It's so important for all the different stakeholders to come together, whether its recovery, harm reduction, housing law enforcement, and community leaders—we all have to work together to solve this crisis."


To contact a reporter for this story, email Brie Welton or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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