Two homeless patients from Surrey were sent in a taxi to the Salvation Army Shelter according to a letter from Chilliwack Mayor Ken Popove. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress file)

Fraser Health slammed for discharging homeless patients into taxis bound for Chilliwack

Mayor Popove asks Fraser Health to address concerns he has about this happening twice last month

Chilliwack Mayor Ken Popove is demanding action and answers from Fraser Health after two patients were discharged from Surrey Memorial Hospital and transported by taxi to a Chilliwack homeless shelter.

Popove is asking Fraser Health officials in a March 5 letter to address the “serious concerns” he has about the unacceptable practice of discharging patients into taxis destined for local shelters.

“A homeless shelter is no place for a person with health concerns or special medical needs,” Popove wrote. “Discharging patients into homeless shelters when they still require some level of care is not an acceptable practice.”

Fraser Health spokesperson Tasleem Juma said they have received the letter from the Chilliwack mayor and are looking into the specific concerns.

A “shelter cot” is not suitable for a recently discharged patient, the mayor argued, and he wants to know why this happened twice, as Chilliwack already has challenges with its shelters.

“Are hospitals regularly discharging patients into homeless shelters? If so, what can be done to change this practice?” Popove demanded. “Secondly, I would like to know why vulnerable people are being sent to Chilliwack homeless shelters from another community.

“How is it possible that a 76-year-old woman with multiple significant health concerns could have been discharged from Surrey Memorial Hospital and sent via taxi to a homeless shelter in Chilliwack over 70 km away from her home, friends and family?”

Part of the problem is that rumours on the street abound about homeless people in Chilliwack being shipped or bused or taxied to Chilliwack from other areas, which has fostered feelings of resentment and frustration from the public.

“Chilliwack already has a very high population of homeless people per capita and we have been working hard to advocate for shelter and housing and, in many cases, have provided financial support,” Popove said in his letter.

READ MORE: What is Chilliwack doing?

“Our residents know their tax dollars are going to support significant housing first projects in our community and feel this investment should not be used to make Chilliwack a destination for homeless people from throughout the region.”

Mayor Popove called the case of a senior being sent here from Surrey Memorial, “a sad and terrible situation” and is asking for answers.

The first case was a 76-year-old woman with mobility and severe incontinence who was sent via taxi to the Chilliwack Salvation Army on Feb. 2, arriving with a walker and unable to attend to her own hygiene. Salvation Army officials were unable to accommodate the patient. On Feb. 11, she was moved to a temporary shelter, the Portal, where stairs are not an issue, but dealing with constant fecal matter has raised serious concerns for both staff and shelter clients.

“Unfortunately, this individual became increasingly frustrated over her health issues and became belligerent with staff and threatened to kill them.”

She left on her own, returning to the Salvation Army.

Then on Feb. 22, the Salvation Army received a phone call regarding a second patient who was being discharged from Surrey Memorial Hospital and needed a bed. This individual was in a wheelchair, had open wounds on his feet and needed to be in a hospital bed.

“This information was not disclosed by the social worker and shelter staff realized they would be unable to provide the level of care this individual requires,” the letter from the Chilliwack mayor continued.

“Based on these two instances, I have several serious concerns that I would like you to address.”

See www.theprogress.com for more on this story as it becomes available.

READ MORE: Housing Hub works and needs funding


@CHWKjourno
jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Drugs and guns seized by Chilliwack Mounties in complex case

Drug trafficking investigations led to five arrests in three different locations across Chilliwack

Chilliwack RCMP trying to catch robbery suspect

Police hope someone will identify the person who appears in security camera footage

Chilliwack churns out new generation of wildfire fighters

School district partners with B.C. Wildfire Service to prep Grade 12s for careers

Bucket-list flight for Chilliwack grandmother

Hampton House resident treated to a beautiful plane ride in Moments that Matter

UFV introduces first mindfulness graduate program in Canada

Most of the University of the Fraser Valley program is offered online

Protective human chain forms around Victoria mosque for Friday prayer

Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

VIDEO: Giants take a 1-0 playoff series lead

Vancouver beat Seattle 7-1 in game one of the best-of-seven Western Conference series in Langley

LETTER:Chilliwack trustee says dress code quotes out of context

Furgason says he wants to hear from parents, not union head

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

Boy who went missing from park remains largest probe in Victoria police history

The four-year old Victoria boy went missing without a trace on March 24, 1991

Six ‘distraction thefts’ in two days spark warning to seniors by Vancouver police

Distraction thefts are used to steal jewelry off the necks of unsuspecting women

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

Motorcyclist dies after three-vehicle crash on old Island Highway

Accident happened at 12:15 p.m. Friday near Country Club Centre in Nanaimo

B.C. driver caught going 207 km/h on motorcycle along Okanagan Highway

A motorcyclist was caught by Kelowna RCMP going 207 km/h on Highway 97C

Most Read