Citizens Advisory Committee

Site recommendation for $15 Million purpose-built Shelter & Supportive Housing Facility in Maple Ridge Presented to Marc Dalton and Doug Bing May 1, 2017

“The right model can go anywhere.”

Prepared by Christine Bickle
Maple Ridge Citizens Voice

The community advisory committee has been tasked with recommending a site for a $15M purpose built shelter and supportive housing facility to be built in Maple Ridge by BC Housing. We are comprised of members with varied backgrounds and lived experiences related to matters of homelessness and addiction. We are your neighbours, business owners, co-workers and volunteers whose goal it is to recommend a site that will work for the community at large, the homeless and those struggling with addiction and mental illness.

The committee recognizes that our mandate, while narrow, does not preclude us from making strong recommendations about the building structure and operating agreement. The committee also recognizes that decision makers including BC Housing, our municipal council and the community have a voice that may affect, change or alter these recommendations.

We believe: The right model can go anywhere.

The communities of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are caring and compassionate but they are growing impatient for a resolution to this matter. They feel that they have not had a voice throughout this process.

The perception that Maple Ridge has more low barrier shelter beds available than any municipality outside Vancouver/100,000 residents cannot be dismissed and needs to be a consideration in the decision-making process.

It is important that the community accepts realistic building timelines for this facility. This solution will not appear overnight. 

Our recommendations are as follows:

  1. That the facility should not be operated as a Low Barrier Facility.
  2. That there should be one shelter in Maple Ridge.
  3. That a location on Lougheed Highway or Dewdney Trunk will not be considered.
  4. That a downtown location will not be considered.
  5. That the operating conditions from the community advisory committee become a part of the rezoning process and be imbedded into the operating agreement for the non-profit chosen to oversee the facility.
  6. That the physical space needs to be large enough for the staging of different needs.
  7. That the number of beds will be tied to Maple Ridge population and consist of shelter beds, supported housing units for those shelter residents who have made a commitment toward a positive transition and extreme weather mats to be used when need arises.
  8. That if there is an RFP process then we would like to have a member from this committee be appointed to help choose the service provider.
  9. That a committee that includes community members will be struck to hold the operator accountable to its operating memorandum and good neighbor agreement commitments. Transparency and open relationships with all service providers, neighbours, businesses, police and emergency services is strongly encouraged. An enforceable code of conduct for residents is required and a complaint resolution process determined.
  10. That a medical office will be on-site. Fraser Health will provide infrastructure and contract the appropriate nursing, physician and social work personnel to service the medical needs of homeless people: Disability, mental illness and substance use disorders will particularly be managed in a manner befitting current evidence-based medical standards of care.
  11. That case management must be in place for supported housing residents with articulated consequences when breeches occur up to and including removal from the facility.
  12. That mandatory 360-degree assessment of social, physical and mental health status with agreement on appropriate and mea surable treatment goals is required at intake.
  13. That treatment on demand will be available, based on community resources, with preference given to operators that have other housing and sober living options, including life skills and back to work programs.
  14. That we require the Fraser Health Authority to have an Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) or an Intensive Case Management (ICM) Team established in the Ridge Meadows community permanently, not just for the current crisis.
  15. That guidelines about length of stay will be articulated – residents will be offered and (hopefully) sign case management plans and housing tenants will sign program participant agreements. This is not permanent housing and residential tenancy agreements will not be considered.
  16. That curfews will be in place for the shelter and there will be no in/out privileges past certain hours. Police admissions is the only exception to the curfew policy.
  17. That we would like to encourage that the shelter establishes relationships with Homeless Outreach workers and treatment service providers and that outreach services be consolidated to one group/provider.
  18. That reasonable access to public transportation or the handy dart system, municipal and provincial services as well as emergency services is preferred.
  19. That restorative Justice will be a part of program offering and preference will be given to a provider that has staff trained in this area.
  20. That Key Performance Indicators will be established for all service providers and monthly reports about progress will be given to the oversight group.
  21. That traffic safety will be considered when determining a site. This is important for all constituents - residents, drivers, pedestrians, and neighbours.
  22. That crime that supports addiction will not be tolerated. Breeches in behavior will result in removal from the facility.
  23. That sites with access to city services and water will be given preference in consideration of location.
  24. That a site away from single-family residential areas is recommended. The site should be well landscaped and have fencing features that offers confidentiality for clients of the facility.