The city will help the Campbell River Head Injury Society purchase two side-by-side apartment buildings in Campbellton.
The buildings will be used as a long-term care home for clients of the Head Injury Society and are located on the corner of 16th Avenue and Petersen Road, across the street from the bowling alley.
Council agreed at its Dec. 16 meeting to provide the society with $34,000 towards the purchase. Of that, $12,000 will come from remaining homelessness funding that is transferred annually from Island Health, and $22,000 will come from unspent funds in the 2014 mayor and council budget.
Mayor Andy Adams, impressed with the proposal, wished the Head Injury Society well in its endeavours.
“Best wishes to the Head Injury support group for a great initiative and a welcome service in our community,” Adams said.
The society is in the middle of a process to secure the two apartments; each apartment has 11 suites for a total of 20 one-bedroom living quarters and two bachelors.
Shelley Howard, executive director of the Head Injury Society, wrote in a letter to council that the apartments will provide invaluable support.
“The apartments are very important to the on-going success for individuals with brain injury and limited financial resources,” Howard said. “Many individuals with brain injuries struggle with one or more challenges such as: the risk of being homeless, are homeless, drugs, alcohol, health issues and mental health issues. We will be able to offer a home to these individuals and in turn, help take some of the strain off of the stretched services in our community.”
The initiative will complement the society’s already-existing facility, Hillcrest House, on the corner of Dogwood Street and 9th Avenue which can house up to four clients and is meant as temporary housing.
Howard said having the new apartments will allow the society to offer clients transitional housing that will help residents continue receiving life skills and financial support long-term.
The housing will also be affordable.
“A lot of our clients get $625 a month and that’s what they have to live on and that’s for rent, food, everything,” Howard said during a presentation to council last year.
“And it’s tough, it’s really tough.”
Clients who live at Hillcrest House pay an income-based rent and have access to a 24-hour care worker.
But the demand is high and the society had a wait list of 14 people as of this summer for housing at Hillcrest House.
The society sees roughly 156 patients on an ongoing basis, providing them with medical, physical and emotional support.
Howard told council last year that being able to offer long-term housing to clients with brain injuries will relieve some of the pressure on the medical system and get them into a safe place.
“We have received numerous calls from the hospital about patients who are brain injured and living in the hospital because there are no other safe affordable options to release them to,” Howard said. “In some cases the costs are upwards of $1,000 or more per day plus they are taking up valuable surgery or medical bed space.
“If we can offer them safe and affordable housing, that lessens the impact on the community and the health care system.”