James, a homeless man, rests inside his new plywood structure on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021. The box was made by members of the Chilliwack Fire Department. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

James, a homeless man, rests inside his new plywood structure on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021. The box was made by members of the Chilliwack Fire Department. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Same day well-known Chilliwack homeless man gets shelter built he is taken to hospital

Fraser Health doctor sent to assess James ordered him brought to CGH for proper assessment

With increased focus on a well-known homeless man in Sardis on Thursday (Feb. 11) after Chilliwack firefighters built him a structure, Fraser Health intervened and the man was taken to Chilliwack General Hospital for assessment.

James has been living on the streets of Chilliwack for years, sleeping and sitting in recent years in a spot on Vedder Road by the government liquor store.

On Thursday, members of the Chilliwack Fire Department built him an elevated structure made from plywood, with materials donated by Canex Building Supplies.

READ MORE: Well-known Chilliwack homeless man says ‘thank you’ to firefighters for building him a shelter

James has received considerable sympathy and social media mentions in recent years as people speculate and tell stories of his past. The Progress is not repeating those anecdotes and rumours as the man himself declined to speak to reporters beyond thanking the firefighters for building the structure.

On Thursday, Mayor Ken Popove wrote a detailed letter to Fraser Health CEO Dr. Victoria Lee asking for proactive outreach to deal with the 55-year-old who people have asked questions about over the years regarding his mental well-being and physical health.

A man drops something off for James, a homeless man, on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021. The plywood structure he’s in was made by members of the Chilliwack Fire Department. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

A man drops something off for James, a homeless man, on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021. The plywood structure he’s in was made by members of the Chilliwack Fire Department. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Among the concerns expressed by Popove were: “The probability of serious impairing mental health issues, which causes James to believe that he is serving his hell on Earth for some incident that may have happened years ago.”

“The greater concern is that despite a clear sense of urgency for this man’s life, there seems to be nothing that can be done. We appreciate that people are able to lay eyes on him, and bring him coffee, but this man’s physical and mental health are rapidly deteriorating, and he needs to be brought inside and given a full assessment that can lead to intervention.”

Soon after the structure was built for James on Feb. 11, and The Progress spoke with him, Chilliwack RCMP were called to stand by and keep the peace while a doctor from Fraser Health conducted a medical assessment.

“Chilliwack RCMP have received regular calls from community members who have expressed concern regarding this man’s well-being,” according to RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Krista Vrolyk. “Given the recent drop in temperatures, our officers were checking on him daily – sometimes multiple times each day. Concerns regarding this individual’s health have surfaced and Fraser Health was engaged.”

When the doctor attended, it was determined that James could not be properly assessed on the street, and he was transported to Chilliwack General Hospital for further care.

“Chilliwack RCMP respond to multiple calls daily regarding the well-being of individuals in our community,” Vrolyk said. “We share the community’s concerns and our goal is to work collaboratively with our community partners to ensure that people receive the help and assistance they need.”

The Progress chatted briefly with James on Thursday and asked if he had anything else to say to the Good Samaritans who made the structure for him.

“No. Just thank you,” he said.

RELATED: Chilliwack one of six communities to receive homelessness funds from the feds

RELATED: Chilliwack has highest rate of homeless women in B.C.: advocate


 

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on?
Email: jenna.hauck@theprogress.com
Twitter: @PhotoJennalism

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

HomelessHomelessness

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Elias Pettersson and the Vancouver Canucks drew a large crowd to the Abbotsford Centre in 2019. Canucks management hopes the crowds return for the planned AHL team this fall, and early returns are positive. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
Canucks: ‘Incredible’ early interest for Abbotsford AHL tickets

Team has had a strong response to both e-mail information and priority ticket lists

Red dot shows location where fisherman was rescued by boater on Friday, May 7, 2021. Other fisher still missing presumed drowned after boat swamped on Fraser River near Vedder/Sumas confluence. Rescued man swam to shore after boat sank, while friend is still classified as missing as of May 10. (City of Chilliwack map)
Fisherman still missing after boat flipped on the Fraser River

One man made it out, other still missing, after anchor got snagged in the Fraser near Chilliwack

Corina Rochon has been working the front lines of the pandemic in the intensive care unit at Abbotsford Regional Hospital. She is also an instructor in the nursing program at University of the Fraser Valley.
Pandemic the most challenging of Abbotsford nurse’s 16-year career

Corina Rochon works front lines at Abbotsford Regional Hospital

Joan Septembre went for a weekend hike at Lindeman Lake, parking next to a vehicle that had two windows smashed in. (submitted photo)
Thieves active at Lindeman Lake and other parking spots along Chilliwack Lake Road

The hiking community is lamenting an uptick in car theft and vandalism as the weather gets nicer

Dario Lopez comes to the Cascades from Madrid, Spain where he played in very competitive junior leagues. (Dan Kinvig/UFV Athletics)
UFV Cascades sign Spanish basketball talent

High-scoring forward Dario Lopez joins team for 2021-22 season

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

The B.C. legislature went from 85 seats to 87 before the 2017 election, causing a reorganization with curved rows and new desks squeezed in at the back. The next electoral boundary review could see another six seats added. (Black Press files)
B.C. election law could add six seats, remove rural protection

North, Kootenays could lose seats as cities gain more

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation wants ‘massive change’ after its 3rd police shooting in less than a year

Nuu-chah-nulth woman recovering from gunshot wounds in weekend incident near Ucluelet

Nurse Gurinder Rai, left, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Maria Yule at a Fraser Health drive-thru vaccination site, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. The site is open for vaccinations 11 hours per day to those who have pre-booked an appointment. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID vaccine bookings to open for adults 40+, or 18+ in hotspots, across B.C.

Only people who have registered will get their alert to book

Dr. Victoria Lee, CEO of Fraser Health, hosts an update on efforts to contain B.C.’s COVID-19 transmission in Surrey and the Fraser Valley and protect hospitals in the Lower Mainland, May 6, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate slowing, 20 more people die

Deaths include two people in their 40s, two in their 50s

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds are in the Comox Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Suspected bird strike on Snowbirds plane during training in B.C.

Pilot followed protocols and landed the aircraft on the ground without any problems

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read