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 taxied Surrey homeless patients to Chilliwack shelters, mayor says

Chilliwack Mayor Ken Popove calls the practice ‘unacceptable’ in a March 5 letter

Chilliwack’s mayor is demanding answers after two patients were discharged from Surrey Memorial Hospital and transported by taxi to a Chilliwack homeless shelter.

Ken Popove asked Fraser Health officials in a March 5 letter to address the “serious concerns” he has about discharging patients into taxis destined for shelters in his community if they still require medical care.

“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 and are looking into the specific concerns.

READ MORE: Rough winter for those trying to survive on Chilliwack streets

Last month, a 76-year-old woman with mobility and severe incontinence was sent via taxi to the Chilliwack Salvation Army, arriving with a walker and unable to attend to her own hygiene.

Salvation Army staff were unable to accommodate her, and she was later moved to a temporary shelter where stairs are not an issue. But dealing with constant fecal matter raised serious concerns for both staff and other shelter clients.

“Unfortunately, this individual became increasingly frustrated over her health issues and became belligerent with staff and threatened to kill them,” Popove said. The woman left the temporary shelter and returned to the Salvation Army.

A couple weeks later, the same organization got a phone call about a second patient being discharged from Surrey Memorial and needing a bed. The man was in a wheelchair and had open wounds on his feet.

“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,” he said.

READ MORE: B.C. homeless camper barricades himself in shelter as inspections take place

Popove said he wants to know why this happened twice, as Chilliwack already has challenges with its shelters.

Rumours abound in Chilliwack about homeless people being bused or taxied there from other areas, which has fostered feelings of resentment and frustration.

“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.

“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.”


@CHWKjourno
jfeinberg@theprogress.com

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

LETTER: Pitt Meadows woman tired of speeders on Bonson

Speed bumps or increased enforcement are needed to curtail racers through a park zone

LETTER: Lock cats and small dogs away from wily coyotes

If you have a letter you’d like to submit, please email us at editor@mapleridgenews.com.

LETTER: Priority should be given to locals accessing Golden Ears park

Maple Ridge residents should be able to reserve new day passes ahead of out-of-towners: one local

When life gives you lemons…

Maple Ridge kids make the most of summer by setting up lemonade stand

SHARE: Rainy days of summer in Maple Ridge still a sight to behold

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

Fraser Valley Bandits fall to Edmonton in CEBL final

Bandits lose 90-73 to Stingers in Sunday’s Summer Series final

Simon Cowell breaks his back falling from electric bike

Incident happened at his home in California

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Fraser Valley Bandits advance to CEBL Championship Game

Bandits post comeback 76-75 win over Hamilton Honey Badgers in Saturday’s semifinal

IHIT on scene of suspicious early-morning fire on rural Mission property

Entrance to Gunn Avenue property cordoned off while investigation takes place, updates coming

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Most Read