Everybody has been wringing their hands, wondering what to do about Surrey’s considerable mental health and substance abuse challenges, particularly in the north end.
Time will tell how this story plays out, but for today, let’s give credit where it’s due. Fraser Health has revealed it will open a Mental Health and Substance Use Urgent Care Response Centre next to Surrey Memorial Hospital.
This is great news.
The centre is expected to open in 2019 and couldn’t open fast enough considering 174 people died of drug overdosing in Surrey last year and this city’s death toll is second only to Vancouver’s 348 deaths in 2017.
Moreover, on Jan. 12 Surrey’s provincial government revealed its plan for a 160-unit transitional housing project, in the form of modular housing, to help desperate people get out of tents and off the streets, on the 135A Street strip and elsewhere, and into warm, safer accommodations.
We hope these will be used to their best extent.
The provincial government has indicated it will replace Surrey’s modular housing, expected to be opened this spring, with 250 permanent and affordable housing units.
Among other initiatives, such as the Surrey Outreach Team, Surrey’s fire department is saving overdose victims with the help of software that tracks overdose clusters .
Solid efforts, then, are being made to help those who need help.
It will now be up to them to grab hold of the lifelines offered.