For nearly 30 years, the B.C. division of the Salvation Army has run Vancouver Homestead, a women's recovery centre in the city's Oakridge neighbourhood that had capacity for up to 34 clients at a time and offered live-in treatment for women dealing with substance abuse.
As of April 1, the centre officially closed, following an announcement by the Salvation Army earlier this year and a transition over the past few months as clients completed their programs or found spots in other facilities.
The Salvation Army, which in its annual review says it provides about 5,700 shelter, addictions, detox and mental-health beds per night in Canada and Bermuda, says it closed Homestead as part of refocusing its programming and resources in British Columbia.
"The Salvation Army has invested strongly in recovery and addictions throughout the years and we will continue to do so," B.C. division spokeswoman Patricia Cuff said on Monday. "This program was costing us a substantial amount of money and so we have had to, over the last three years, look at an evaluation process and see how can we best use these funds and best serve the people in need."
The Salvation Army would not disclose specific operating costs for the facility, which is located at 975 West 57th Ave. and opened in 1988. But Ms. Cuff said it had rarely run at full capacity in recent years.
Future plans could include selling the property and building a new facility to provide services at another site, she said.
Vancouver Homestead was one of only a handful of recovery homes in the city licensed under B.C.'s Community Care and Assisted Living Act and some expect its closing to have ripple effects.
"It's going to have a significant impact in the community, to lose [that number of beds]," Brenda Plant, executive director of Turning Point Recovery Centre, said Tuesday. "That's a huge loss of resources in our community for people who are seeking recovery."
Turning Point currently runs four licensed sites in the Lower Mainland and has proposed a fifth: a nine-bed men's recovery centre in the District of North Vancouver. That proposal, which has generated considerable community opposition, is in its early stages as Turning Point has not yet filed a formal application to proceed.
"There is a real need for women's recovery facilities in the Lower Mainland and a lack of availability of beds," said Miranda Vecchio, executive director of Charlford House Society for Women, a 15-bed facility that is the sole licensed recovery centre for women in Burnaby.
Charlford House has been operating for 45 years, 42 of them at its current, leased site in a residential neighbourhood across from an elementary school. The group is raising funds to purchase its own property – ideally not too far away.
"We definitely want to stay in Burnaby," Ms. Vecchio said. "We've been here a long time and had a lot of support from many wonderful people, so we want to be able to continue that."
Charlford House typically runs at close to capacity but vacancies are not uncommon, as some clients may leave programs sooner than expected and others may take longer than planned to meet requirements for moving in, Ms. Vecchio said.
The cost of recovery programs can be paid by individuals, through social assistance or through insurance programs. Rates vary depending on the facility and the clients' ability to pay. The cost of providing staff, programming and accommodation in licensed facilities typically outstrips what clients pay, leaving providers to make up the difference.
The Salvation Army said it had struggled for several years to try to make Vancouver Homestead sustainable.