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

VIDEO: Dashcam records near-miss by bad driver near Sooke

Driver crossed four lanes of traffic and back over again, barely missing three other vehicles

Protesters block entrance to Victoria government building to support Wet’suwet’en First Nation

A letter with four demands was delivered to the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources

George Jay parents tired of dog poop left on school’s fields

Parents advocate for stronger fines, more signage in the neighbourhood

PHOTOS: Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow stopped paper carriers

More than 180 carriers brave the snow for deliveries

VIDEO: Greater Victoria mom shares ‘insane’ experience of viral dinosaur video

Tabitha Cooper filmed her costumed sons meeting their grandma at the Victoria International Airport

B.C. player becomes only second Canadian to enter Hall of Fame of Baseball

Walker received 76.6 percent of the Baseball Writers of America Association vote

Boy, 13, arrested after alleged assault involving girl at B.C. middle school

Boy alleged to have used ‘inappropriate levels of force’ to injure the girl

Police suspect foul play in Cowichan Tribes death

Police are looking at foul play in relation to a death on… Continue reading

Hospital patient pleads guilty to dumbbell assault of nurse in Abbotsford

Neale Heath admits to assault causing bodily harm in attack last September

‘Epic sky palace’: B.C. businesses help create dream treehouse for boy recovering from cancer

‘It was kind of a bright shining beacon at the end of a horrible, dark tunnel’

VIDEO: Nickelback gears up for nostalgia tour

Canadian band joins Stone Temple Pilots for a summer tour that includes just one stop in Canada

B.C. teacher suspended for poking student in stomach, pulling another’s ponytail

Teacher also swore in classroom, used Facebook to contact students

Most Read