New supportive treatment beds now operating in Sioux Lookout
Tim Brody - Editor
Sixteen supportive treatment beds opened in Sioux Lookout earlier this year, “to connect people and families in the region facing mental health and addictions challenges with faster and easier access to high-quality care closer to home,” the provincial government, Kenora District Services Board (KDSB), and the Municipality announced last week in Sioux Lookout.
“We are making it possible for people to get more timely, convenient care by expanding access to recovery-oriented mental health and addictions care in Northern Ontario,” said Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. Associate Minister Tibollo was in Sioux Lookout on August 15 to make the announcement, along with Sioux Lookout Mayor Doug Lawrance and KDSB Chief Administrative Officer Henry Wall.
Through the province’s Addictions Recovery Fund, the province has invested over $4 million to make possible these 16 new supportive treatment beds at Sioux Lookout’s emergency shelter, located in the former Queen Elizabeth District High School. The KDSB owns the former high school. This funding will also support 15 new addiction treatment beds and six withdrawal management beds which will open by the end of 2023.
The first six supportive treatment beds opened at the beginning of March, with the other 10 opening at the beginning of June.
Wall said the funding will be flow over a two year period. “Officially the funding that we have is to set to end on March 31st but we’re moving forward, this is going to be a permanent thing for the community.”
Funding for these new beds flows directly to the Sioux Lookout Friendship Accord Economic Development
“We’re here because of 30 First Nations to our north and we are the service centre for that. Those First Nations have gone through a history that has led to the need, the over need, for this type of service and we don’t have enough of them,” Lawrance said, adding, “It’s all incremental. You don’t save the world in one go, but this is a great first step.”
“This funding is critical in our effort to address the ongoing challenges of addictions and mental health. We are very appreciative of Minister Tibollo’s commitment and support,” Lawrance said.
“Today marks a historic day, and I want to thank Minister Tibollo and the Province of Ontario for making this important and unique investment. The community of Sioux Lookout will benefit greatly from these 37 new withdrawal and supportive treatment beds. The program will help and support vulnerable people by ensuring there is a continuous model of care between health and housing. I want to thank the Sioux Lookout Friendship Accord for their tireless work and effort in helping to make this project a reality,” Wall stated.
Associate Minister Tibollo stated, “For me, what it does is it means that we are giving people hope. Actually, we are giving them more than hope, we are giving them an opportunity to get their lives back. Let’s just think about the thousands of people that are going to be helped because of these investments and because of the work that has been done here.
Wall said a lot of searching was done to find a site for these 37 beds.
“It just so happened timing wise, that the negotiations for this property, building, had come to a conclusion. Part of the vision here for this property long-term is for it to be an education campus, along with housing. There’s a beautiful field there that has the potential to build and support a lot of homes in this community as part of a strategy to make sure that we have places for people who want to come here to work here. It did provide an opportunity that this half of the building could support these programs.”