Community Association responds to Indigenous deaths at housing facility

Executive director Cathryn Olmstead says her organization has been devastated

Letter to the editor

Press release, April 27:

Smithers Community Services Association is deeply saddened that six indigenous men have passed away in their own home at Goodacre Place, over the past year.

Their passing has devastated our staff and our hearts go out to their families and friends who are facing this loss.

Each of those men were individuals with their own unique stories, their own set of circumstances, and their own specific reasons that led them to choose to live at Goodacre Place.

We recognize and understand that when people pass away, those who care about them want answers. While we cannot provide personal information about any of our tenants or the circumstances of their deaths, we can confirm that we are looking closely at the programs and services offered at Goodacre Place to determine how to better support the folks who live there.

READ MORE: Indigenous leaders call for investigation into six deaths at Smithers housing facility

Smithers Community Services Association and Goodacre Place welcome an independent review of our programs and services because it will bring out the truth. We have already taken steps to examine why these tragic circumstances are affecting Indigenous people within our facility. We are very interested in any advice and insight the independent review could offer us with regards to ways this program might be improved to better serve our residents as we move forward.

Goodacre Place actively seeks to house people who are vulnerable, sick and most at risk in the community. Staff at Goodacre and our community partners work to provide tremendous care and attention to each and every individual who has crossed our threshold. We want to ensure that people who desperately need these services will continue to access them.

Our hope is that as a community we can face these challenging and complex situations in a constructive and collaborative way that pulls people together.

Cathryn Olmstead

Executive Director

Smithers Community Services Association