Communities throughout B.C. are increasing their efforts to address the overdose crisis with more than $900,000 in grants awarded to municipalities for local community wellness, safety and harm-reduction projects.
Twenty-four municipalities and their community partners have received up to $50,000 in funding for initiatives that build on community wellness, safety and harm-reduction efforts related to the overdose crisis and saving lives. The opportunity was first announced by Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, at the Union of BC Municipalities convention in September 2019.
“Everyone deserves to live in a healthy and safe community,” Darcy said. “We know that when people come together to identify challenges and solutions, we can create vibrant communities that put residents’ wellness first.”
The Community Wellness and Harm Reduction Grant was launched to support community partnerships on focused, action-oriented harm reduction projects or initiatives, tailored to meet local needs. Grant funding was available to B.C. municipalities or regional districts that partnered with their regional Health Authority to develop collaborative harm reduction projects to enhance the knowledge, skills and resources for individuals, families and communities to be safer, healthier and more inclusive.
Additional projects aim to reduce stigma, while engaging and empowering people with lived and living experience of substance use.
The one-time grants are supported by the Community Crisis Innovation Fund through the Ministry of Health and will be administered by the Community Action Initiative.
This funding is part of a comprehensive investment of $746 million since Budget Update 2017 (through to 2023) aimed at harm reduction, prevention, enforcement, treatment and recovery initiatives.
Escalating B.C.’s response to the overdose crisis is a pillar of government’s actions, as outlined in A Pathway to Hope — B.C.’s roadmap for making the system of mental health and addictions care better for people. Implementing A Pathway to Hope is a shared priority with the BC Green Party caucus and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.