Skip to content

B.C. pilots housing project for pregnant people struggling with addiction

15 beds to be available out of supportive housing sites in Vancouver, Burnaby and Victoria
B.C. is launching a 15-bed pilot project to provide people with addictions support during and after pregnancy. The project was announced Oct. 11 by Jennifer Whiteside, minister of mental health and addictions (centre right), and Darci Skiber, senior director of the Mental Health and Substance Use Programs and Initiatives with the BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre (centre left). (Credit: X/@JM_Whiteside)

The BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre is launching a 15-bed pilot project to house people who have addictions and are either pregnant or have recently given birth.

The new project, which is set to launch in Victoria, Burnaby and Vancouver, is part of the hospital’s Families in Recovery program. That program supports about 80 to 90 people a year, helping them to stabilize and connect with whatever resources they need while pregnant and as they become new parents.

The new pilot is intended to give hospital and community service providers greater insight into the needs of mothers and pregnant people who have substance use concerns. It will be carried out by the Elizabeth Fry Society, the Aboriginal Coalition to End Homeless and Coast Mental Health.

“With access to stable housing and appropriate supports, we know the outcomes for the whole family will improve,” Coast Mental Health CEO Keir MacDonald said in a statement.

The beds will be offered out of existing supportive housing sites, with each person’s length of stay depending on the extent of their needs. The pilot will further be broken into three streams: stabilizing patients, transitioning them back into communities after giving birth and offering Indigenous-specific care. Each of the housing types will be piloted for six to 12 months.

The BC Women’s Hospital said its team will be assessing outcomes such as how offering a supportive housing option impacts the number of days a patient stays in acute care both before and after giving birth. It said they predict the pilot will free up more beds and allow the hospital to serve more patients.

The pilot program will also assess how working with patients on a care plan and connecting them to community resources impacts their overall physical and mental well-being.

These outcomes will then be used to inform which supports and programs the hospital focuses on in the future.

“We are optimistic that findings from this pilot will offer us deeper insights into how we can better support pregnant women and people, and families longer-term, beyond their time spent at our hospital,” said Darci Skiber, senior director of the Mental Health and Substance Use Programs and Initiatives with the BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre.

READ ALSO: Limited addiction treatment and recovery options create care gaps in B.C. communities

Black Press Media Staff

About the Author: Black Press Media Staff

Read more