Tbnewswatch Local News
Tuesday July 7 2015
5:08 PM EDT
2014-03-10 at 21:19

By the numbers

Centre for Addictions Research of B.C. director Tim Stockwell.
Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com
Centre for Addictions Research of B.C. director Tim Stockwell.
By Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com

A pilot program at Shelter House is working according to a new study.

The Centre for Addictions Research of B.C. Presented its findings to city council Monday night on the Kwae Kii Win Centre, an alcohol management program that's been operating for nearly two years.It's one of five alcohol management programs across the country that looks to stabilize homeless people with chronic alcohol problems by giving them a place to live and offering alcohol throughout the day. 

Centre for Addictions Research of B.C. Director Tim Stockwell said the evidence shows harm reduction, taking pressure off of emergency services and giving the 15 clients access to care and support have all been met by the Thunder Bay program.
The study compared 18 people who have used the program with 20 people who could be eligible but weren't involved. It showed that those in the program were less likely to drink other forms of alcohol, like hairspray or mouthwash. They were also less likely to be admitted to hospital by 37 per cent and detox centres by 88 per cent. Contact with police was also down by 42 per cent when in the program.

Mayor Keith Hobbs said he's heard from some people that the cost of the program, around $500,000 per year including $70,000 from the city, isn't worth it. He said he completely disagrees. Shelter House executive director Patty Hajdu said studies have shown it costs around $130,000 per year per person when they're on the street.

"This is one of the best investments we've made as a council," Hobbs said.

Many in the program have lost touch with family over the years because of addiction. Hajdu said many have been able to reconnect because of the program and some have even gone to live with relatives. Many reported feeling safer, healthier and others were able to find housing.

"This program seemed to give them their dignity," Stockwell said.

Stockwell said while the program is working, it's not the only answer to servicing such a vulnerable population.

The study is available on the Shelter House website.

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Icon O Clast says:
If each person in the MAP cost $130,000 prior to entry into the program and the program cost $30,000 per person then $98,000 per person was saved. So on the 18 people in the program 18 X $98K the taxpayer saved $1,764,000 in taxes.
Besides being the right thing to do (looking after one an other) lets do more of this. Good job to everyone involved. Keep up the harm reduction and the tax savings... thank you.
3/12/2014 2:24:24 PM
caesarjbasquitti says:
Accounting problems ?

How can it cost $130,000 a year to have a person on the streets ? Are you costing out for street paving, sidewalk construction and road maintenance ?

"They were LESS LIKELY to consume other forms of alcohol'...? Less likely is not good enough spending some $500,000 on 15 people a year ? That's costing us...$33,333.33 per person a year ?

Wait a second, many of our citizens live on less than $20,000 a year and that is working for it...?

Their must be better less expensive programs...!

Tragic, but one must understand that some people have no choice in their conditions, and then some people have all the choice in the world, and they take the wrong turn.

Where is the logic ? On the streets they cost $130,000 a year, on this alcohol program they cost some $33,000, and if they are law abiding, they get less than 12,000 on welfare ?

Harm reduction ? How about health promotion ?

Do we help them make wrong choices or do we help them make good choices ?
3/11/2014 11:02:06 PM
Eastender says:
Seriously? You want to trade lifestyles?
3/11/2014 1:08:00 PM
jd says:
People will complain no matter what. If this program wasn't running these would be 18 people that these same people would complain that they are begging them for money, breaking into their vehicle looking for spare change to get booze or food. Sleeping in their shops doorway to keep out of the rain. They would call the police to come pick them up and take them to jail for passing out on their lawn. A program like this is there to try and end the cycle and stop the strain on our emergency services like police/fire/ambulance. They don’t tie up a bed in the Regional Hospital as they get treated for an overdose on Listerine or hairspray or when they get beaten up as they are passed out for whatever possessions they have. I know the system isn’t perfect but its called society and if you don’t like it then move to a third world country where we can all be treated the same; repressed by who ever is in power.
3/11/2014 12:35:23 PM
Arch Stanton says:

So I can work hard, pay the $6,000 housing tax 'fine' that this City charges me to live here... and if I'm lucky have enough left over to buy a rip-off priced bottle of wine from the LCBO Monopoly to take (some of) the pain away...

OR... I can throw in the towel and get free housing and free alcohol too...

WHERE DO I SIGN-UP?????????????????
3/11/2014 11:21:58 AM
mr_sbaker says:
Understand that this system SAVES money. Between contact with police, emergency health care, and other government services, a person living on the streets costs approximately $130k a year. It is a problem for all of society. With an investment of only about $30k per participant, these other costs go way down. Therefore, money is saved.

Participants also contribute to the cost of their alcohol and housing through contributions taken directly off their ODSP.

Take a look at the full report if this issue interests you: http://www.shelterhouse.on.ca/upload/documents/research-report-map.pdf
3/11/2014 10:06:12 AM
YellowSnow13 says:
So that works out to be about $28G/person that contributes nothing to society? And that is just for this program. Are these people getting welfare on top of that? Are these people still in the program? How long will they be in the program? Are they now contributing to society? Have they got a job and are now living on their own and not going back to the beast? So really, lets keep a project going that has no results other than swayed statistics on a small sample. How about shut it all down and stop giving charity to people that are just abusing the system. I have no problem helping somebody that is going through a rough time but it seem these people are not changing.
3/11/2014 9:23:24 AM
keep it real says:
as jimmyboy stated the substance abuse in the city is out of control. I would like to know the cost of the "harm reduction" based needle kits, those are the junkie starter set's that provide the needles that litter our city. The sad truth is that a huge percentage of the people on the system know how to play the system to get as much as possible wether it's calling 911 for rides or claiming all they can from assistance and then for example selling the bus pass they are given to a store, etc, etc
3/11/2014 9:15:48 AM
Watchmaker says:
It is appalling that people like The Critic will yammer about our tax dollars going to help people manage then recover from addictions without recognizing that the costs to the taxpayer are greater if we have to deal with the social and health problems if we don't.
3/11/2014 8:36:19 AM
The Critic says:
Yes, these costs which just happen to be presented by the people with a vested emotional interest in seeing this program funded. I'm not saying their hearts aren't in the right place, I'm just saying I don't want to pay for free booze for addicts.

Also what about this program is relating to recovery? To me this sounds like making it easier to people to continue with their additions rather than taking personal responsibility. Aka enabling. I'm not against treatment, but is this actually treatment?

Maybe if they don't want people to be as critical they should release how they came up with this $130k/year/person figure instead of trying to manipulate public opinion using percentages based on a limited sample size. I will be skeptical until seeing some actual data, just like all thinking people should.
3/11/2014 11:52:33 AM
unheard says:
yes lets stop providing daycare
instead give em a drink

council is a jk
3/11/2014 7:48:19 AM
The Critic says:
A study of 38 people - not exactly scientifically rigorous. I like the part about percentages too, when one person out of this 38 person study accounts for 2.63% of the entire population under study.

It is appalling that public tax dollars are being used to give people alcohol. Actual counselling I can see (up to a certain point), but this? Really?

Who is John Galt?
3/10/2014 11:47:01 PM
Reignmaker says:
Sample populations are used all the time. 38 is too low, yet we are willing to allow far less people to decide how to use our tax money in a city with a far larger population than those who are drinking.
3/11/2014 11:27:36 AM
jimmyboy says:
18 people in this program...the iceberg that is this problem in the city is so large...this program barley scratches the surface of the huge problem alcohol has caused in the city...imagine the cost if all effected were to be treated in this way...what that cost would be...???

And then add in those who are abusing a wide variety of drugs...now that in itself is an enormous problem on top of the other...!!!
3/10/2014 11:20:24 PM
Waldo Lydecker says:
How can it cost $130,000/year for someone if they are "on the street"?

and who is paying it?

seems to me if they are costing 130K/yr, they really aren't "on the street"

more like "on the take".

Why are these blood sucking program administrators always threatening tax payers with something bad to get our support?

I think people like Patty are in it for themselves and they love suckering in rubes like Hobbs (who seems to fall for every single carnie trick that comes along).
3/10/2014 11:09:36 PM
kpo says:
These are the costs associated when you factor in policing costs, repeat trips to emerge, trips to the detox centre, etc. Hardly someone "on the take" just the cost of being homeless, and addicted to some sort of substance.

And with regard to your asinine comment that people like Patty are in it for themselves.....what a ridiculous statement. She is implementing programs with proven rates of success in other communities. What would you rather have, a shelter house that opens its doors at night and kicks everyone out during the day or a place that provides services to hopefully make someone a productive part of the community.

Something tells me you have no idea what happens here. I suggest you volunteer for one meal prep and you too will have a different view on what the Shelter House does for our community.
3/11/2014 10:51:13 AM
JubJub says:
I don't totally disagree with programs of this nature, but the measurement of success should be based on how many of these folks have been weened off of alcohol and are now productive members of society. Unfortunately I am fairly sure the number is zero. Tax payer dollars should only be spent on harm reduction if it is tightly coupled with rehabilitation and reintegration into society, otherwise you are shifting the burden and not solving the problem.
3/11/2014 2:02:45 PM
kpo says:
You make a good point - perhaps sharing the outcome of people completing this program would go a long way in educating why this is beneficial rather than a place to access free booze. From my understanding, this program provides the supports needed to live a life with a reduction in harm.
3/11/2014 3:44:37 PM
young&concerned says:
This is one of the best investments we've made as a council," Hobbs said.

This speaks volumes on the accomplishments and what this Mayor/council has provided this city in their term!

It is time for change!
3/10/2014 9:30:39 PM
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