SURREY – The B.C. Liberal government must act now to reverse their damaging decision to deregulate recovery homes, say New Democrats.
“The B.C. Liberals threw the recovery home system into chaos when they deregulated them in 2002, and since then they have failed to fix the problems they created,” said New Democrat critic for mental health and addictions Sue Hammell.
“While they said in 2006, and again in 2009, and again in 2011, that they were working on a certification process, still these homes operate without regulation. And still, unscrupulous operators are taking advantage of a weak system,” said Hammell, MLA for Surrey-Green Timbers.
Hammell joined MLAs Bruce Ralston (Surrey-Whalley) and Harry Bains (Surrey-Newton) in calling on the B.C. Liberal government to immediately fix seven years of broken promises by appropriately regulating recovery homes.
Regulating recovery homes is one part of the Surrey Accord proposed by the MLAs. The accord would see all three levels of government work together on measures including investing in community policing and community courts, regulating recovery homes, committing to a mental health strategy, and creating more accessible social housing.
“Operators believe there are more than 150 unregulated recovery homes in our city, and many more around the province” said Ralston. “While many recovery homes are run well, some operators wreak havoc on their communities and terrorize their residents, offering nothing to help them reintegrate into the community, and maintaining crowded and unhygienic living conditions.”
Bains also reiterated the need for a community court in Surrey that would apply a problem-solving approach to crime that is responsive to dealing with the underlying causes of criminal behaviour within the community.
“The community court has been talked about for years, and it’s time for action,” said Bains. “We know it has been working in Vancouver, and we heard this week that the police chief in Delta is advocating a community-based approach too. Chief Cessford has also pointed out it costs less than half as much to manage chronic offenders in the community rather than with longer and more jail sentences.”
The MLAs are hosting a discussion about their proposal and the future of health and safety in Surrey at the Surrey Arts Centre Studio Theatre on Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. Admission is free, but participants are asked to pre-register for the event at www.surreyaccord.ca.
Unregulated Recovery Homes Chronology