Why Are So Many Dying Unnoticed in BC Supportive Housing?

I do not know why this is happening. I live in one of these units and I am subjected to cigarette smoke 24 hours a day, a gardener whom my support worker told me has a history of stalking women, and garbage smells that are beyond explaining. I live next door to a person who has threatened a female tenant in the building and slammed a door and chopped off his prescription-addicted girlfriends finger. I expected all of them to be evicted months ago and yet here we are still living in the apartment, afraid to socialize because our support worker wont advocate for our rights and the property manager will not evict them. My children and me are living in a ground floor apartment with the windows closed to avoid the cigarette smoke, the blinds closed to prevent the gardener from looking in our windows when he drops things off at midnight, and the apartment door closed so nobody can barge into our unit when they are fighting. I have complained to my support worker, the property manager and BC Housing. I sure dont feel like a very valued or wanted person by my support worker or the property manager or that I have any rights. I guess maybe I should write a letter to all parties formally informing them of my problem in the hopes I can get some help and move. Click here to read the full article or an excerpt below.

 

On July 16, 2012, Lindsey Longe died alone in a squalid Vancouver room littered with the evidence of his battles with addiction, poor health and hoarding. He was 30.

Days before, he had checked out of a hospital and returned to his tiny one-room apartment. It’s unclear if anyone noticed that Longe failed to emerge from his room after that.

After he died, Longe’s body lay amid the clutter for three more days before he was found.

If this happened in one of Vancouver’s notorious single-room occupancy slum hotels, it might be just another sad but unsurprising story.

But Longe wasn’t in a flophouse. He was living in Pacific Coast Apartments, a 96-unit government-funded complex on West Pender Street that promises staff support for residents to keep them safe, even “individualized support plans.”

And his sad death wasn’t an isolated case.

Longe’s mother, Christine Harris, doesn’t believe that anyone checked on her son as he lay dying. For more than three years, she has been fighting to find out why he was forgotten — for the final days of his illness and the three days his body lay in the room. She fears that he spent his last four days alive alone and in pain.

No one from Coast Mental Health, the non-profit that operates Pacific Coast Apartments, called her to tell her that Lindsey was dead, she said.

“I had to learn my son had died from a posting on Facebook by one of his friends, and I still haven’t gotten answers about why he died alone after days of pain,” she said. “I know his friend Rob, who posted about Lindsey’s death, had been worried and asked staff to check on him the day before he died.”

Harris said she was relieved when Lindsey moved into the apartments shortly after they opened in 2012 and was assured staff would check on him every day.

That’s certainly the kind of support the politicians seemed to promise at the gala opening for the apartment. The federal and provincial governments paid for the project and the City of Vancouver contributed land.

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