This story is part of situation criticala series from CBC British Columbia reporting on the barriers people in this province face in accessing timely and appropriate health care.
A BC assisted living facility for people with serious mental illness is no longer facing permanent closure, following a CBC report over concerns from the close-knit group of friends who live there.
Residents of Lina’s Place in New Westminster said they learned the news at a meeting Tuesday afternoon with representatives from Fraser Health and the Pioneer Community Living Association, which runs the facility.
They were told they would still have to move out temporarily while the house is closed for necessary repairs, but are eventually allowed to move out if they wish.
“We were cautiously optimistic. Yes, we won the battle, but there’s still a long way to go before the end,” said resident Jeff MacPherson.
In July, the 11 people who live at Lina’s Place received notices that the duplex would be closed permanently in a year and then sold by BC Housing “due to the need for a newer building and funding for more housing program choices.”
Residents who spoke to CBC said they consider each other family and fear being separated and moved from New Westminster. They were told plans for their future would be worked out individually before Lina’s Place closes in July 2023.
The plan now is to find alternative housing for everyone while the building is surveyed and repaired, and then everyone will have space inside first when it is safe to return, Fraser Health spokesman Dixon Tam wrote in an e-mail. Mail.
He said there were “several building deficiencies at Lina’s Place that could negatively impact residents’ health” but that no one would lose their current services and support.
“It’s too early to confirm a timeline as to when Lina’s place will be safe for residents to return,” Tam added.
No reason given for change of plan
MacPherson said residents and staff have also asked for written assurances that they will be allowed to return to Lina’s Place and they are still seeking details of the problems with the home.
He added that his roommate, Alison Chow, spoke up at Tuesday’s meeting and asked, “Is this all happening because we went to the media?”
According to MacPherson, no one has answered the question directly.
Fraser Health has yet to respond to requests for more details on the plan changes.
Meanwhile, family members have filed a Freedom of Information request to receive a technical report identifying the specific problems with the building and the estimated cost of repairing them.
Before making the decision to eventually reopen Lina’s Place, BC Housing said the proceeds from the sale of the duplex would be reinvested in new services in the area.
The 21-year-old building has more than quadrupled in value since it was purchased in 2002, according to records from BC Assessment, and combined, the two sides of the duplex are valued at approximately $2.6 million.