Hope and Area Transition Society homeless shelter. (Hope Standard file)

Hope and Area Transition Society homeless shelter. (Hope Standard file)

Fraser Health under fire again for taxiing homeless man from Langley to Hope

Patient sent to Hope shelter because a spot in the man’s home community couldn’t be located

A homeless man was discharged from Langley Memorial Hospital, put into a taxi and sent to Hope’s emergency shelter despite shelter workers saying they didn’t have room for him.

“We don’t take in people from other communities as policy. We have enough people of our own to take care of,” said Gerry Dyble, executive director of the Hope and Area Transition Society, which opened an emergency shelter last October.

Neither the patient nor the shelter agreed to the transfer, which occurred near the end of January, he added.

“They called and we said no, we don’t have room. Usually the conversation ends there, but they called back again and we said no again. Then the taxi arrived with him in it.”

Staff had to call 9-1-1, Dyble said. “He couldn’t even stand up. We’re not an acute care centre.”

The man was taken to Fraser Canyon Hospital, but he was already medically stable, so he was discharged back to the shelter.

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

Fraser Health spokesperson Tasleem Juma said staff made every effort to find the man a spot in his home community of Surrey, but none was available.

“Our social workers do everything they can to support a discharged patient’s transition home. In cases where the individual does not have a home to return to, our staff work with them to find a suitable alternative and support them in their transition once they agree to it,” Juma said. “This has been a challenge across our region as we continue to care for our homeless population.”

Fraser Health has been under fire recently after two patients were discharged from Surrey Memorial Hospital and sent by taxi to a shelter in Chilliwack. Mayor Ken Popove demanded to know why that was appropriate, given the patients still needing medical care and the fact Chilliwack has its own homeless population to support.

Juma said the man was eventually transferred back to a shelter in Surrey.

‘That’s startling’: Horgan reacts to claims of homeless patients being sent to Chilliwack

Dyble said local hospital administrators have brought the issue to the attention of those in charge.

Said Hope Mayor Peter Robb at a council meeting earlier this month: “They’ve been told, in no circumstances to repeat this policy, and make sure all the staff has been notified at Fraser Health that [Hope] will not accept released patients from [other] hospitals.”

With the weather warming up, Dyble said the public may see more homeless people out in the community, in tents at the river or in other spots in town, and that the society’s homeless outreach team is available to help those in need.

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

Bella Coola RCMP are alerting residents that the road between 4 Mile subdivision and downtown will be closed until at least tomorrow. (File image)
Missing man found safe, Surrey RCMP said

Riley Arnold- Higgenbottom was last seen at 1:30 p.m., Nov. 28 in the 18900-block of 69 A Avenue

Tanvi Pandhi, a Grade 12 student at Fleetwood Park Secondary, took part in the Surrey school district’s survey of students in grades 10 to 12, with a focus on health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey students voice concerns about mask wearing, distancing in schools

Surrey school district has been surveying students in grades 10 to 12

Cambridge Elementary School music teacher Darlene Lourenco is “on the mend” after contracting COVID-19. She had a two-week stay at Surrey Memorial Hospital, including in the ICU. (Photo: submitted)
Surrey music teacher at home after two-week hospital stay battling COVID-19

Meantime, Surrey Teachers’ Association sends letter with safety demands to board of education

Keir Macdonald, CEO of Phoenix Drug and Alcohol Recovery Education Society, with the “first of its kind” Adult Residential Substance Use and Supportive Recovery Facility Homelessness Count. It was done around the time of the Metro Vancouver Homeless Count (March 3 to 4, 2020) to complement the count. (Photo: Amy Reid)
Surrey homeless, recovery counts show need for long-term solutions

This was the first time recovery, substance use facilities were included in the count

(Photo: Amy Reid)
VIDEO: 2020 Community Leader Awards recognize Surrey’s unsung heroes

They don’t often receive recognition and don’t necessarily have a high profile in the community

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

(File photo)
Vancouver police warn of toxic drug supply after 7 people overdose at one party

Seven people between the ages of 25 to 42 were taken to hospital for further treatment.

A man walks by a COVID-19 test pod at the Vancouver airport in this undated handout photo. A study has launched to investigate the safest and most efficient way to rapidly test for COVID-19 in people taking off from the Vancouver airport. The airport authority says the study that got underway Friday at WestJet’s domestic check-in area is the first of its kind in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vancouver Airport Authority *MANDATORY CREDIT*
COVID-19 rapid test study launches at Vancouver airport for departing passengers

Airport authority says that a positive rapid test result does not constitute a medical diagnosis for COVID-19

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Peter Wilson, left, and Micah Rankin, right, formed the Special Prosecutor team that was tasked with reviewing and litigating charges stemming from the Bountiful investigation. Trevor Crawley photo.
End of Bountiful prosecution wraps up decades of legal battles

Constitutional questions had to be settled before a polygamy prosecution could move forward

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Most Read