Name of Town: Whistler, Squamish, Pemberton,
Strong peer witnessing program and innovative modular housing program
A Q&A with Robert LeBlanc of the Sea to Sky CAT.
“Who are we to come up with solutions for somebody? They’ve got to be a part of that decision-making process,” – Robert LeBlanc, Representative from Vancouver Coastal Health
Members of the Community Action Team sat down with Robert LeBlanc, Representative from Vancouver Coastal Health, to discuss the evolutions, learnings and proud moments experienced while working with the Sea to Sky CAT. Here’s what he had to say.
Circumstances at the time dictated the need for the Bridge. The Squamish Helping Hands Society was nearing completion of its new building, Under One Roof, which was slated to replace its small and aging shelter, for one thing. For another, the Budget Inn hotel was being torn down by its new owner, so its long-term residents were being evicted and there were dozens of homeless people living rough in the woods around town. There was a pressing need for something to bridge the gap until Under One Roof was completed. The Bridge was erected in February of 2020, and dismantled in November of 2020, once its residents were able to move into Under One Roof.
We also set-up a peer-witnessing program at the Bridge, and it was great in that it offered not just some safety but it was also a dry run for what was eventually needed at Under One Roof. The District of Squamish and Squamish Helping Hands Society worked in partnership with BC Housing to create a new Under One Roof facility that offers the Squamish community improved and centralized access to food, shelter and support services. We’re proud of how that worked and so far, these peer witnesses have responded to almost a dozen overdoses.