VICTORIA –Island Health has identified two community-based agencies as the lead proponents to deliver Harm Reduction services and People with Lived Experience supports in the Supervised Consumption Service – called the Pandora Wellness Centre, which is scheduled to open in Victoria late this spring.
Island Health issued two Requests for Proposals (RFPs) in December 2017 seeking service providers for the Supervised Consumption Service. One RFP was for People with Lived Experience, the other RFP for Harm Reduction Services. Following an extensive evaluation process of the proposals received, Island Health is pleased to announce the following agencies are the lead proponents:
- People with Lived Experience Services: SOLID Outreach Society. SOLID is a peer-run organization of people who use drugs. It was formed in 2003 and has approximately 25 harm reduction and peer support staff. SOLID’s work includes daily morning and evening outreach shifts, distributing safer drug use supplies, recovering used supplies, conducting Naloxone training and providing referrals. Since the opening of Overdose Prevention Services, SOLID has provided and supported peer workers at some of the sites as well as supportive housing facilities and at encampments frequented by people who use drugs.
- Harm Reduction Services: Lookout Housing and Health Society. Lookout provides low barrier housing and a range of support services in 11 municipalities on the Lower Mainland. Founded in 1971, Lookout operates shelters and resource centres, delivering health services, providing community outreach and offering programming and connections to develop work skills. Lookout has developed and is currently operating supervised consumption services in Surrey (SafePoint) and the Downtown Eastside (Powell Street Getaway).
Contract negotiations with the identified agencies are set to begin shortly with the aim of having both contracts in place as quickly as possible. This will allow the agencies to hire and train staff and integrate services with Island Health programs within the Pandora Street Supervised Consumption Service before the new service opens. If either of the contract negotiations proves unsuccessful,
Island Health will begin negotiations with the next highest scoring proponent.
Four submissions were received for each RFP. Each RFP clearly outlined how proposals would be scored and weighted based on the solution the bidder proposed (20%), their qualifications (60%) and price (20%). Evaluation panel members included representatives from Island Health’s Public Health, Mental Health and Substance Use and Contract Policy and Standards departments. In addition, impartial representatives were on the panel.
At the Pandora Wellness Centre, harm reduction workers and people with lived experience will be working alongside Island Health clinical and health care services including nurses and paramedics, who have played an integral role in the temporary Overdose Prevention Unit at Our Place since it opened in 2016.
Renovations to the Supervised Consumption Service at 941 Pandora Street continue on time and on budget. Renovations are scheduled to be complete in late April. The facility will require a final Health Canada inspection before it’s expected to open in the late spring.
Island Health, one of seven health jurisdictions in British Columbia, provides health care and support services to more than 767,000 people on Vancouver Island, the islands in the Salish Sea and the Johnstone Strait, and mainland communities north of Powell River.