In March, there was some very sad news about our partners at Pathways Addictions Resource Centre in Penticton. Interior Health is reconfiguring its mental health and addiction services and had decided not to continue to fund Pathways for those services, but rather to offer those services itself. This means that Pathways has now lost 90% of its funding to provide those services to the residents of the South Okanagan.
For over 40 years, Pathways has been providing addictions counselling to our community members – not only to addicts, but to their families, employers and the community at large. They have been a valued, trusted and loved resource in our community and a respected partner of Access.
We at Access hear and share the concerns (and sadness) of our clients, co-workers and the community at large in response to this change. While we recognize the right of Interior Health to spend its money as it sees fit and wish them success in their work to provide services in our community, we do have concerns about the consequences of these changes.
While Interior Health will provide counselling services we wonder who will provide the other services provided by Pathways: providing prevention education in schools, assessments for parents who are working to have children returned from Ministry Care, working with corrections and probation and providing service 24/7 when needed.
In addition, we know that it will take time for the community to transfer the trust that Pathways has earned over the last 45 years to a Government agency. We know that there will be needy people who will fall through the cracks and who will not be served for a variety of potential reasons and therefore that the need for Pathways’ services will not disappear. This is especially true now, when Penticton is struggling to cope with the needs of a growing homeless population, many of whom need mental health and addiction services.
We at Access believe that Pathways’ services need to continue and that they need support in their search for new sources of funding to enable them to continue to provide those valuable services.
We urge our supporters to extend their support to Pathways in any way possible: by visiting Pathways’ website (https://www.pathwaysaddictions.ca/), by signing the petition at Change.org (https://www.change.org/p/interior-health-help-save-pathways-addictions-resource-centre), by writing letters of support to the newspaper and their elected officials, or by making a donation (donations directly to Pathways or through Canada Helps will get you a tax receipt, those made through Go Fund Me do not).
Please support this amazing organization that has brought healing and hope to so many in this community over the last 45 years!