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Richmond group frets crisis lines could be run for profit

CHIMO has appealed to Richmond's mayor to stop an RFP process for crisis services
Chimo Crisis Line
On the Crisis Line, Chimo volunteers provide emotional support to callers facing a diverse array of issues.

A Richmond non-profit is worried crisis line services – whose technology is being centralized in B.C. – will be farmed out to a private corporation, putting them in “jeopardy.”

CHIMO Community Services has written to Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie asking him to appeal to the provincial Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions and to the Ministry of Health to stop a request for proposals (RFP) to run these operations that they say is currently underway.

The fear is the 1-800-SUICIDE line and other “distress lines” will go to a private for-profit corporation, explained Kathy Nakhleh, manager of new initiatives and crisis lines with CHIMO, in her letter.

The item has been put on the agenda for Monday’s general purposes committee meeting for council to consider.

While Nakhleh states in her letter the province is currently “dramatically” increasing funding and centralizing technology for crisis lines, the “bad news” is crisis centres will have to prepare proposals to bid on the contract while the demand on their services is at an all-time high.

“The RFP process will delay our transition by many months and raises the possibility that crisis services could be taken over by a private corporation,” Nakhleh writes in her letter to the mayor.

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