MLA Jackie Tegart says a regional plan addressing the pathways into and out of homelessness is the best way to prevent hospitals from shuffling patients with no fixed address into distant communties via taxi. (Pixabay)

MLA calls for regional plan, amid third report of homeless patient taxied to Fraser Valley

Regional plan could also help prevent one community from becoming a ‘hub’ of homelessness MLA says ‘regional plan’ including wrap-around services will help end hospitals’ shuffling of homeless

A mother has come forward with another instance of a homeless person being discharged from hospital and sent by taxi to a shelter in a community far away.

Rina Gallo, who lives in Surrey, said she received a call from her son, Steven, right before Christmas. She said he told her he was at Langley Memorial Hospital and that he was being discharged via taxi to Hope.

“He was scared, he was very scared, but he called me when he got there,” said Rina during a recent phone interview.

The Hope Standard confirmed Steven was a client at the House of Hope Emergency Shelter, but was not able to confirm how he got there. However, his mother was emphatic he was delivered by a cab hired by the staff at Langley Memorial Hospital.

“I spoke with the social worker at the time and she said he had to go,” Rina said. “And I said, ‘That’s not where he lives.’ They took him from his family, his baby. They took him from his entire family.”

She said Steven, who lives in Surrey, missed the birth of his first child, a boy, on Jan. 8 because he was at the Hope shelter.

“My son has drug issues, and they had highly medicated him because he can get violent. He even tried committing suicide while in there. I’m surprised Langley Memorial released him at all,” she said.

This is the latest case, and the second such one in Hope, of the Fraser Health Authority taxiing discharged homeless patients that are deemed medically stable to shelters in communities not their own.

Last month, Chilliwack Mayor Ken Popove wrote to Fraser Health, demanding to know why two patients had been discharged from Surrey Memorial Hospital and sent by taxi to a Chilliwack shelter, especially when they still needed medical care. Fraser Health said staff are taking his concerns “very seriously” and that every effort is made to find patients suitable housing, but that sometimes these transfers occur.

READ MORE: Fraser Health taxied Surrey homeless patients to Chilliwack shelters, mayor says

READ MORE: ‘That’s startling’: Premier reacts to homeless patients being sent to Chilliwack

Fraser-Nicola MLA Jackie Tegart said it’s time for a regional approach to the complex issue – for communities and Fraser Health to find a solution together, rather than sending homeless people from one place to another and never dealing with the problem directly.

“We all have a responsibility to care for our most vulnerable,” Tegart said. “When we’re shipping people who are leaving the hospital and have no place to go, it’s unbelievable to think about it for the amount of dollars we spend.”

She said the Fraser Valley Regional District is already discussing a plan, and that Hope Mayor Peter Robb plans to take the issue to its hospital board.

READ MORE: Told ‘no’ twice by local shelter, homeless Surrey man sent to Hope anyways


 

@SarahGawdin on Twitter
SarahGawdin on Instagram
Sarah.Gawdin@HopeStandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Anti-gang cops probe Kelowna’s street-level drug trade over B.C. Day long weekend

CFSEU’s Gang Enforcement Team was deployed to Kelowna last weekend

Roots & Blues announces ticket giveaway ahead of online festival

The festival is streaming free online this year, but those who pre-register can win passes for 2021.

Property tax late fees to kick in soon: City of Kelowna

Nearly 84 per cent of property owners paid their taxes by July 31

Man allegedly wielding knife at Kelowna Superstore arrested

The 29-year-old Kelowna man has been released on strict conditions for a future court date

YMCA reopening Kelowna pools

Kelowna Family Y and H2O Adventure and Fitness Centre reopening Monday, August 10

371 British Columbians battling COVID-19, health officials confirm

Thursday (Aug. 6) saw a second straight day of nearly 50 new confirmed cases

Smoker Farms bringing craft-style cannabis to Beaverdell

Husband-wife team growing small-scale cultivations of marijuana

Penticton man wakes to wildfire, forced to evacuate

A wildfire sparked off the side of Highway 97 near Penticton on Thursday

Visitors and non-residents entering closed remote B.C. First Nation’s territories

With limited resources, they say they don’t have any authority or power to enforce the closures

UBC loses appeal on Fisheries Act convictions

BC Supreme Court upholds order to pay $1.55-million fine

Masks to be mandatory on BC Transit, TransLink starting Aug. 24

Both BC Transit and TransLink made the announcement in separate press releases on Thursday

Acclaimed B.C. actor Brent Carver passes away

Carver, one of Canada’s greatest actors with a career spanning 40 years, passed away at home in Cranbrook

B.C. would not send students back to school if there was ‘overwhelming risk’: Horgan

Plan has left many parents across the province worried about their children’s safety

Most Read