Authorities work with homeless to clear a camp at a frequently occupied spot across the street from the Salvation Army on Gladys Avenue. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News file photo


Death a reminder of vulnerability for Abbotsford homeless workers

Co-ordinated intake and referral program update notes a death and two hospitalizations in December

December highlighted the vulnerability of some of the clients of an Abbotsford homeless referral program, with program co-ordinators noting a death and two hospitalizations that month.

As of the end of last year, the co-ordinated intake and referral (CIR) program had received 425 requests for service, according to a January update to the homelessness action advisory committee.

Of those intakes, 51 individuals were sent to the interagency care team due to the level of vulnerability and the complexity of their needs.

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“The severe degree of vulnerability of individuals served by the interagency care team was highlighted this month. Two women were hospitalized as they were awaiting an assisted living unit or higher level of care,” the report reads.

As well, a man who was housed since December 2017 died suddenly and unexpectedly, according to the report.

“He was extremely vulnerable on the street due to health issues and alcohol addiction. Through advocacy and support, he was able to maintain his housing and the team supported him with daily living activities critical to housing retention,” the report says.

The cause of death is believed to be related to alcohol abuse, according to the report.

“The CIR/interagency care teams were grateful that they were able to offer him the fit of death with dignity. The goal of the CIR pilot project was to create a system that would identify the most vulnerable and provide housing and wraparound supports,” the report reads.

“These unfortunate situations do illustrate that through the process of Coordinated Intake and Referral those most vulnerable are provided with housing, and wraparound supports for health, income and social integration.”

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CIR co-ordinator Sharon Forbes could not comment further on the matter.

The CIR pilot, which received $400,000 in federal funding several years ago and launched in fall 2017, is scheduled to wrap up on March 31 this year. The update report notes a few remaining tasks for the program.

That includes the completion of a final report, including translating the report into French and review of the report by third-party evaluators.

As well, an e-learning course titled Many Ways to Home, being run by the University of the Fraser Valley, has yet to fully launch, and the city is still expected to hold a regional housing and homelessness forum on Feb. 21.

Find more of our coverage on homelessness here.

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Dustin Godfrey | Reporter


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