ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – The Energetic City and 17 other communities in B.C. that have been hardest hit by the overdose crisis will be getting community action teams as part of government’s response to the ongoing crisis.
The funding was announced by Mental Health and Addictions Minister Judy Darcy at a press conference in Abbotsford today. Each of the 18 communities will have access to up to $100,000 in one-time funding from the OERC Community Action Team Grants.
The teams will include representation from municipal government; Indigenous partners; regional health authorities; first responders, including police, fire and ambulance; front-line community agencies; divisions of family practice; people and families with personal experience; and local provincial ministry offices, including housing, children and family development, and poverty reduction services.
“This bold, new approach is vital as families in every corner of the province continue to lose their loved ones to overdoses,” said Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy. “Each community action team will play a crucial role in targeting resources where they are needed most on the ground in their communities. This is critical to saving lives and connecting people to treatment and recovery.”
This year, the government plans to spend $3 million through the Community Crisis Innovation Fund, $1.5 million of which is available from the OERC Community Action Team Grants. Another $1.5 million will be available to all B.C. communities, through a Community Crisis Response Grants application process. The government said the Community Crisis Innovation Fund will also be available in 2018-19 and 2019-20, with an additional $6 million each year.
The vast majority of funding is going to communities in Southern B.C. and the Lower Mainland, which is where the vast majority of overdose deaths have occurred. Prince George is the only other community in Northern B.C. to receive the initial funding. The province says it will develop Community Action Teams in other communities as the need arises.