Vancouver: New municipal funding supports communities in finding local solutions to the overdose crisis through projects aimed at saving lives and improving community wellness.
Up to $3.5 million in funding was announced by Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, at the Union of BC Municipalities convention.
“From day one, we recognized that it is people on the ground, on the front lines of the overdose crisis who know best what works in their communities, large and small,” said Darcy. “By investing in local solutions, we are coming together as a province to reduce harm, fight stigma and support people on their own pathway to healing and hope.”
Up to $50,000 in grant funding for community projects is available through the Community Wellness and Harm Reduction Grant program administered by the Community Action Initiative. Examples of eligible projects include community dialogues, needle distribution and recovery programs, and projects that reduce stigma and help connect people to health-care services.
In addition to grant funding, 35 communities hardest hit by the overdose crisis will receive up to $150,000 in funding for on-the-ground community action teams (CATs) to escalate local, integrated planning and strategies in response to the overdose crisis. Nineteen CATs are in their second year of operation and 16 new CATs are being established throughout B.C. based on updated overdose data and community need.
Escalating the response to the overdose crisis is a key pillar of government’s actions outlined in A Pathway to Hope, B.C.’s roadmap for making the system of mental health and addictions care better for people in B.C. Implementing A Pathway to Hope is a shared priority with the BC Green Party caucus and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.
• The Community Wellness and Harm Reduction Grants will support projects that are evidence based, involve people with lived experience, focus on stigma reduction and/or build community partnerships.
• Eligible grant projects must be led by municipalities in partnership with a regional health authority.
• New CATs will be established in Hope, Tri-Cities, Mission, South Surrey/White Rock, Penticton, Grand Forks, Nelson/Castlegar, West Kelowna, Williams Lake, Oceanside, Comox Valley, Quesnel, Dawson Creek, Terrace, Sunshine Coast and the Sea to Sky Corridor (Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton).