SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Esmeralda Swartz, Kevin Jackson

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Walk for the Rainier Treatment Program

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA -- (Marketwire) -- 12/18/12 --

Who:

The Women of the Rainier Treatment Program, their supporters, friends and family.

What:

Addicted women from Vancouver's DTES, many of whom live with mental health issues, have worked in the survival sex trade, and have suffered from abuse and trauma - will walk 10 km to the Premier's office, to ask for help to save this Women's Treatment program.

The women from the Rainier have made costumes with broken wings to illustrate their wounded lives on their journey towards healing from addiction. The death of this community treatment center and its significance in the lives of the women who have found help and support within it's program will be illustrated with a New Orleans style jazz funeral procession and 40 coffins.

Where:

The walk will start at 9am at the Rainer Women's Treatment Centre at 309 Carrall St. (on Carrall St. just north of Hastings St.) with various rest stops, ending at the office of Premier Christy Clarke, where Grand Chief Stewart Philips will speak.

When:

Tuesday December 18th


--  Walk begins from the Rainier Women's Treatment Centre 
    --  309 Carrall St 
    --  9:00am 
--  Group Walk across the Cambie Bridge 
    --  10:30am 
--  Vancouver Coastal Health Authority Offices 
    --  520 West 6th Ave (on the sidewalk out front) 
    --  10:45am 
--  Vancouver Coastal Health Authority Office 
    --  601 West Broadway Ave. 
    --  11:30am 
--  Minister of Health - Margaret McDiarmid's Constituency Office 
    --  1245 West Broadway Ave. 
    --  12:45pm 
--  Premier Christy Clarke's Office 
    --  3615 West 4th Avenue. 
    --  2:00pm 

Backgrounder

The Rainier Women's Treatment program is a unique approach to women's treatment. The program opened in 2009, in a DTES SRO Hotel purchased and renovated by BC Housing for $9.5M. Health Canada provided $5M of "one-time only" operational funding, to offer a supportive and therapeutic environment to marginalized addicted women, many of whom have worked in the survival sex-trade and found accessing traditional supports extremely difficult. The Rainier was operated by the PHS Community Services Society in partnership with VCH. At the genesis of the program, Vancouver Coastal Health Authority committed to providing "ongoing operational funding".

On Nov 28th 2012, VCH Staff met with the women in the Rainier Program, to explain that effective Dec 3rd many of the key services that make this otherwise residential Hotel into a treatment program, would be deleted. Women were told that some of the key clinical components such as the Nursing, case management and medical supports would be scaled back and provided on an "outreach" basis at a reduced level.

We are hoping that Premier Christy Clark and the Minister of Health, will fix this problem by annualizing the operational funding required to continue to support these incredibly "at risk" women, particularly in light of the Wally Oppal report, highlighting the fact that these very same women, have been "forsaken".

The ongoing funding that is required, in tandem with the VCH clinical supports, is approximately $750,000.00 / year, to support 40 women. The program has been thoroughly evaluated by the BC Centre for Excellence, and has shown to be effective. It is targeted and relevant for women who face multiple barriers.

"These women have been ignored before.... Let's not do it again."

"It's hard to believe, given the Wally Opal report and the effectiveness of this program, at dealing with women in our community who face multiple challenges and who's lives have in the past been considered irrelevant, that this bright light in our community can be snuffed out with so little thought: robbing the community of a vital resource."

- Lindsay Thompson, Rainier Staff.

To view the Rainier Brochure, please visit the following link: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/RainierReport_Brochure.pdf.

To view the Rainier Evaluation Report, please visit the following link: http://file.marketwire.com/release/Rainier_Evaluation_Report.pdf.

To view the Rainier Internal Evaluation, please visit the following link: http://file.marketwire.com/release/RainierReport_InternalEvaluation.pdf.

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