Amethyst House, a 12-bed residential facility for women operated by the Comox Valley Transition Society, officially opened Monday at 280 Second St. in Courtenay.
The facility will offer expanded supportive recovery services for women needing treatment for substance use and addiction. Clients will benefit from access to triple the number of publicly-funded, non-acute withdrawal management and supportive recovery beds than previously available.
“I pour my blessing on this because it hits my heart,” K’ómoks First Nation Elder Mary Everson said at a ceremony. “I’ve had relatives going through treatment, and through detox, and it’s been very important for our people to have a safe place to open themselves up and not be vulnerable to a lot of the things that would hinder them.”
The motto for Amethyst House is He Tlo Qwe La As ~ A Place to Recover. The goal is to help clients integrate back into the community, and to secure longer-term housing. It will be staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Clinical services will be provided by Island Health staff.
So far, CVTS has hired 14 staff members, a blend of full-time, part-time and casual positions. Together, staff and clinicians will help clients develop individualized service plans.
“We have found some exceptional people to work here,” CVTS executive director Heather Ney said. She hopes the facility will start serving clients no later than Aug. 24.
“We’re so grateful to those groups and individuals who stepped forward to make this day a reality,” CVTS board chair Jan Adams said.
She credited building owner Peter Croonen for going “above and beyond on so many fronts,” Rotary Club members for painting rooms, and business people for cleaning, installing and assembling items.
“The vision of the Comox Valley Transition Society is a community of people who are safe, supported and respected,” Adams said.
“Ultimately, all of this is about the women who will come to Amethyst House — a place to be safe, supported and respected. A place of recovery,” she added.
Comox Valley MLA Don McRae commended Ney for her leadership in the years leading up to Monday’s opening.
“This is truly a Comox Valley endeavour, and this organization (CVTS) makes the Comox Valley stronger,” he said.
Several members of Courtenay council attended the ceremony.
“Amethyst House is going to make a positive difference in the lives of women,” acting mayor Erik Eriksson said. “A community that provides support for those in need is a great community. The opening of this facility will make the Comox Valley an even better place.”
“To me, this is the kind of place where healing happens,” Coun. Rebecca Lennox said.
The provincial government provided a one-time payment of $250,000 for renovations. Island Health will provide the society with annual operating funds of about $250,000.
“We still need to come up with probably a quarter of the funding on our own, through community support or social enterprise,” Ney said.