Complex care housing

Complex care housing supports people living with complex mental health and substance-use challenges who are at risk of homelessness.

Last updated: September 27, 2023

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How the complex care housing program works

Complex care housing works to address the needs of people who have overlapping mental health and substance use issues, trauma or acquired brain injuries that are often left to experience homelessness or at risk of eviction.

This program provides an enhanced level of health and social supports that serve people where they live, for as long as they need it.

Services and supports are attached to the individual

Complex care housing services and supports are attached to the individual and will look different depending on community and individual needs.

In some communities, complex care housing services might be in a single building, like a new or existing supportive housing site, or a small group home. In others, outreach services will connect with people living in different supportive housing buildings throughout a community, or in market rentals paid for with rent supplements.

Some complex care housing services are designed to be short-term, offering a higher level of support during times of increased need.

In all settings, people in complex care housing will receive a full package of comprehensive, person-centred services to meet their needs. Services will be planned and coordinated by health authorities and delivered in partnership with the housing operator and other service providers in the community.

Services may include:

  • Team-based primary care
  • Access to addiction medicine
  • Overdose prevention and education
  • Psychiatrist services
  • Individual and group counselling
  • Social workers
  • Occupational therapy
  • Peer support
  • Nutritionists
  • Home support and cleaning
  • Cultural supports, including connections to Indigenous Knowledge Keepers

Complex care housing will also provide meals, life skills training and help people with medication management.

Complex care is different than supportive housing

Supportive housing provides services and supports that meet the needs of most people who experience homelessness.

Complex care housing will serve people who need a level of support that goes beyond what is currently available in supportive housing, including people at risk of eviction because of complex mental health and substance use issues, acquired brain injury and histories of trauma.

Care teams will work with a small case load, which will provide time and space for teams to build trust, relationships and connections, all helping people achieve their goals. Teams will have plans to prevent evictions or rehouse clients if their housing isn’t a great fit.

How you can access this program and other mental health and substance use services

Complex care housing services will support adults 19 years and over with overlapping mental health, substance use challenges or other health issues, who are at risk of or experiencing homelessness and currents needs are not met by existing housing options.

First Nations, Metis and Inuit people will also benefit from complex care housing services that will have culturally safe and relevant supports.

While some complex care housing projects are already operational, most projects are still in the planning stages. It's anticipated most services will be launched by Spring 2023.

You can find more information on how to access mental health and substance use services by contacting your local health authorities’ mental health or substance use services:

Get information on how to access housing, emergency shelter and drop-in services from BC Housing or call them toll free 1-800-257-7756.

Getting communities involved

Municipal support

Municipalities can work with their local health authority, BC Housing and other partners to share feedback on the development and implementation of complex care housing projects in their communities.