The first four of 20 complex care beds pegged for Kamloops are now taking in clients.
Announced by Interior Health last week, the first home — a four-bedroom residence on the North Shore — began accepting clients on Jan. 23. All four residents are expected to be moved in by the end of this week.
In February, Interior Health will open a seven-bed residential complex care home somewhere on Kamloops' south shore, though an exact date for that is still to be determined.
The health authority isn’t disclosing the locations of the beds for privacy reasons, given that they are in small batches of up to eight units per site.
Carla Mantie, Interior Health’s director of mental health and substance use, told KTW the remaining eight beds are expected to open in one or two other Kamloops homes by March 31. Homes are currently being scouting.
“We’re looking out in Valleyview and different areas of town to ensure people [tenants] that have connections with those communities have options to stay within those communities,” Mantie said.
Interior Health is having clients move into their new homes in a staggered approach to allow clients and their care team to get to know one another and commence their care plan, Mantie said.
The first client of the North Shore complex care site moved in on Jan. 23.
The homes are set up with communal spaces, including kitchens and living rooms, and bedrooms and storage spaces.
“Some [houses] have been used for group homes in the past. That saves us doing tenant improvements and just changing it to meet our needs,” Mantie said.
All homes will have 24-hour supervision and support staff on site.
Mantie said the goal is to make the clients eviction-resistant by learning life skills, but she added they are also allowed to live at their placement indefinitely. Those who choose to move on to other housing will still have access to their support team.
Mantie said the difference between complex care and the supportive housing services already ongoing in Kamloops is the fact people in complex care never have to leave the setting.
“This is a chance for them to have stable housing that is extremely supportive,” she said, noting there will be between two and four care workers from Active Care stationed around the clock at the homes, coupled with a clinical care team provided by Interior Health.
To be admitted to a complex care home, one must have a mental-health and substance-use disorder, but it doesn’t have to have been formally diagnosed, Mantie said. Clients are typically homeless individuals who have been evicted from other shelter situations and who may also have medical and/or psychosocial issues.
“Most of the people that are being referred and coming into our homes are known by multiple care providers,” Mantie said.
She said the first four people being accepted into the North Shore beds were known by multiple organizations that agreed those people needed the program.