Save lives with overdose prevention technology

Amid the ongoing poisoned drug crisis, your housing organization wants to do everything possible to prevent or reverse potentially fatal overdoses among residents who use drugs. But it can be challenging to stay connected with and support the safety of people who use while alone.

A new $1-million initiative, administered by BC Non-Profit Housing Association and funded by BC Housing, aims to help by funding overdose prevention devices in eligible supportive housing buildings and emergency shelters across the province to supplement the housing societies’ overdose prevention and response strategies. Through the initiative, housing societies who receive funding will be able to:

  • Help residents connect with on-site staff when there is an overdose
  • Support safer drug use among residents who use while alone
  • Receive staff training resources and resident engagement plan resources
  • Get three years of free service for devices installed through the initiative

This initiative will roll out in two phases.

The application period for the first phase of the initiative, open to organizations with a maximum of one eligible supportive housing building or emergency shelter, is now closed.

The second phase of applications, open to organizations with two or more supportive housing buildings and/or emergency shelters, is set to open in March 2024.

Funding will be allocated proportionally between the two phases.

We expect demand to be greater than the funding available, so not all eligible buildings or all units within eligible buildings will receive funding.

To apply, please complete this online application form.

For more information, please email odtechfund@bcnpha.ca.

More Info

Who can apply?

The fund is open to all supportive housing/emergency shelter providers in BC who meet all of the following criteria:

-Operate in BC
-Operate congregate supportive housing with 24/7 on-site supports (with fixed term or no fixed term tenancies) and/or year-round emergency shelters in BC funded through the Emergency Shelter Program and/or complex care services in a congregate setting funded through the Aboriginal Housing Management Association
-Have an operating or operator agreement with BC Housing*
-Have supportive housing and/or emergency shelter sites in their portfolio that do not already have overdose prevention devices installed**
-Have not already received funding for overdose prevention devices through Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program (SUAP) or other funding sources**

*If no funding agreement with BC Housing, but meet the other eligibility criteria, please apply and BC Housing will assess the application

** If some units/spaces in a supportive housing or emergency shelter site have overdose prevention devices, but not all that need it, please apply for the number of devices needed at these sites and BCNPHA will assess the application

How does my organization apply?

Eligible housing societies can apply for funding through this initiative by submitting application form using this link. Housing societies can write to odtechfund@bcnpha.ca if they have any questions about the application process, would prefer a paper application form, or have questions about who is eligible to apply.

The application form requests basic information about the buildings, units, and spaces in which your organization would like to use the technology, profile of residents served, and the number of devices your organization is requesting. This information will help inform eligibility and allocations of devices across eligible housing societies who are prioritized for funding. The questionnaire should take no longer than 5-10 minutes to complete.

Information provided on the application form will be viewed only BCNPHA and Aboriginal Housing Management Association staff reviewing applications. Information gathered through the application form will be kept confidential and will not be used for purposes other than the overdose prevention devices funding initiative.

What is the application deadline?

Applications for funding will be accepted in two phases. Funding will be allocated proportionally between the two phases.

-Phase 1 will allow eligible housing societies with one supportive housing building or emergency shelter in their portfolio to submit applications (opening February 1, 2024 and closing February 21, 2024)
-Phase 2 will accept applications from eligible housing societies with 2+ supportive housing buildings and/or emergency shelters in their portfolios (opening in March 2024)

What are the potential benefits of overdose prevention devices?

Overdose prevention devices:

-Help people who are at high risk of overdosing in supportive housing and shelters connect to on-site staff in case of an overdose
-Support safer drug use
-Help activate life-saving responses when needed
-Particularly helpful for people in supportive housing and shelters when they use alone
-The installation and three years of service for the devices will be free for the devices allocated to housing societies through this initiative
-Service packages include staff training resources to use the devices
-Service packages include resident engagement resources to encourage use of the devices and reduce stigma

Overdose prevention devices is one piece of an overall overdose strategy for a supportive housing site or emergency shelter. Sites may have other overdose prevention measures in place. The overdose prevention devices may or may not be used to replace some measures already in place, depending on the measures in place at each building. For example, daily check-ins with residents might continue once overdose prevention devices are in place, as not all residents will use the overdose prevention devices when it may be needed.

How will funding recipients be selected?

It is expected that demand for overdose prevention devices will be greater than what this funding initiative can cover. As such, decisions about the number of overdose prevention devices available to eligible societies will be based on uptake and composition of the sector.

To ensure equitable distribution of funds to eligible societies, priority will be given to supportive housing and emergency shelters that:

-Are operated by Indigenous housing societies
-Serve people of Indigenous descent
-Serve youth
-Do not already have overdose prevention devices or funding from other sources for overdose prevention devices
-Serve a high proportion of people with substance use issues
-Experienced a higher number of overdoses/overdose deaths in their buildings compared to the average for the eligible buildings
-Geographic location

Applications received by the deadline will be reviewed by BCNPHA and Aboriginal Housing Management Association representatives for eligibility and then scored based on the priority criteria. Building and society names will be removed from applications during the review process.

Depending on uptake, some eligible applicants may not receive funding through this initiative. Some eligible applicants may receive funding through this initiative, but not the total amount of funding requested.

How much funding will my organization get?

It is expected that demand for overdose prevention devices will be greater than what this funding initiative can cover. As such, housing societies that receive funding may not get all the funding they requested for eligible buildings.

BCNPHA will inform housing societies selected for funding about the amount funding that will be earmarked for the installation devices and 3 year service package at each eligible building for which the housing society applied. There are three device types, each with different cost ranges. As such, BCNPHA will earmark a certain amount of funding per building that is selected for funding rather than a specific number of devices.

Housing societies selected for funding will have a certain amount of funding earmarked to order devices. The number of devices allocated to funding recipients will depend on the type of device and supplier recipients choose. We encourage housing societies that receive funding to consult with both suppliers before placing ordered to discuss pricing and which devices will work best for each organization’s needs. The number of devices housing societies that receive funding can order with the funding allocated should be determined in consultation with the supplier housing societies that receive funding chooses to work with for this initiative.

If housing societies that receive funding do not end up needing all the funding that was earmarked for them, the remaining funding will be reallocated to an organization that did not get selected for funding through this initiative or did not get all the funding they requested due to high demand.

Brave Devices:

Brave Buttons (Minimum order: 15 buttons per location)*

•Price: $350 each
•Installation: Ready-to-use with adhesive or screws for high-traffic areas.
•Support: Includes training/onboarding guides and remote technical assistance.

Brave Sensors (No minimum order)*

•Price: $2,000 each
•Installation: May require engaging an electrician for installation.*
•Support: Comes with training/onboarding guides and remote technical assistance.

*Pricing Includes

•Shipping to the installation site
•Three-year service package
•Staff training and resident engagement materials
•Leased device cost**
•*The consolidated pricing structure is specific to orders placed through this funding initiative, which may vary from standard website listings.
•**Devices are leased, not purchased.

LifeguardLiteTM Devices:

Devices: $295 per device*

Installation: Lifeguard Digital Health will send a team to install the devices and provide staff training and resident engagement resources (included in the cost of the device)

Service package: $9.95 per device per month (this would be $358.20 per device for the three year service package funded through this initiative)

Central emergency response panel: $500 per panel and $9.95 per month for the service fee (this would be $358.20 per control panel for the three year service package funded through this initiative)**

*This price is a special offer for this funding initiative
**Each building installing LifeguardLiteTM will need to include a central control panel and monthly support in their funding application

What will the funding cover?

The funding through this initiative will cover the following:

-Purchase of devices (number of devices depends on the funding allocated to housing societies that receive funding and the price of the specific device type ordered) through one of the two suppliers for this initiative
-For LifeguardLiteTM Devices: installation of the devices at the building(s) and one central emergency response panel (including the monthly service fee for the control panel) per building allocated funding through this initiative
-For Brave Coop buttons: Brave Coop will cover the cost of shipping buttons directly to the building(s) for which they were ordered and they can be installed by the housing society’s staff
-For Brave Coop sensors: Brave Coop will cover the cost of shipping sensors directly to the building(s) for which they were ordered and the housing society may have to hire an electrician to install them (costs of electricians are not covered through this funding initiative)
-Training resources for staff and residents on how to use the devices and the software from the supplier
-Resident engagement resources to assist with tenant uptake
-3 year service package to use the devices and software
-Repairs and replacement of defective devices or software issues
-Customer support from the supplier to respond to questions about the devices or software

What will the funding not cover?

The funding through this initiative will not cover the following (this is not an exhaustive list):

-Service for the devices beyond the 3 year package (continuing the service package to use the devices and software would be at the housing society’s expense or another funding source)
-Replacement of lost, stolen, or unreasonably damaged devices
-Moving (uninstalling/re-installing devices) that are not defective
-Purchase of additional devices for spaces in building(s) that were not allocated funding through this initiative
-Costs associated with tablets/smartphones needed to use the devices’ software
-Costs associated with the installation of the Brave Coop buttons and sensors (e.g. staff time or cost of hiring an electrician)

How will funds be transferred?

The contact person on the application form will be notified by email of the amount of funding that has been earmarked for housing societies selected for funding to order overdose prevention devices and get the associated 3 year service packages. Once housing societies selected for funding place the orders for the devices, the supplier will invoice BCNPHA for up to the amount that has been earmarked. BCNPHA will transfer the funds directly to the supplier to pay for the invoice, thereby reducing the administrative work for housing societies.

Housing societies that receive funding may choose to order additional devices beyond what the funding provided will cover, but housing societies will be responsible to cover the costs of any order above the amount that was allocated to them through this initiative. Housing societies that receive funding will also be responsible for the replacement costs of any devices that were lost, stolen, or unreasonably damaged.

If any of the funding earmarked for a housing society is not all used in the order placed, the remaining funds will be reallocated by BCNPHA to another eligible applicant who did not receive funding or funding for all the devices they require due to high demand.

The funding through this funding initiative will be one-time. This initiative will not provide funding to continue the use of the devices after the three year service package is completed. The prices for replacement of devices or additional devices or service packages may not be available at the same prices as what was available through this funding initiative.

If my organization is allocated funding through this initative, how does my organization select which company to work with?

Housing societies that receive overdose prevention devices through this initiative will be responsible for selecting which of the two suppliers they want to order from (and if working with a supplier that offers more than one device type, which device type or combination of device types to order). Both suppliers provide training and engagement resources to encourage use of the devices once installed.

Housing societies must select only one of the two suppliers to work with, as the suppliers provide training resources and service to support the devices during the three year service package. We encourage housing societies that receive funding to talk with both suppliers before placing its order to see which devices will work best for their unique circumstances.

Information about the two suppliers and the various devices they have available for this initiative can be found here:

Brave Coop’s Devices:

Buttons (can be used in residential units and other shared spaces such as gazebos, lounges, multi-purpose rooms, etc.)
Sensors (Sensors are specifically for single occupancy and multi-stall restrooms)

LifeguardLiteTM Devices (can be used in residential units and other shared spaces such as gazebos, lounges, multi-purpose rooms, and restrooms, etc.)

BCNPHA also hosted webinars for providers with each of the suppliers to provide information about how their devices work, their installation process, and their services. Recordings of the webinar are available here:

VIDEO: Brave Co-op

VIDEO: Lifeguard Digital Health

Housing societies receiving funding through this initiative can order more than one type of device as long as it is from the same supplier. Housing societies should only work with one supplier. Housing societies with funding earmarked for overdose prevention devices through this initiative must choose between: Lifeguard Digital Health and Brave Co-op as their suppliers. Housing societies cannot order supplies or service packages from suppliers other than Lifeguard Digital Health and Brave Co-op.

What should housing societies that are selected for funding do once they decide which supplier to work with?

Once housing societies that receive funding select the supplier (and if applicable, device types) they would like to work with, based on the device price range, they should calculate the number of devices they can order with the funding earmarked for their housing societies. Orders should then be placed directly with the supplier.

Please cc BCNPHA (odtechfund@bcnpha.ca) on the order so BCNPHA knows that the order has been placed.

Once orders are placed with the supplier, the supplier will follow up directly to arrange details. Housing societies that receive funding must deal directly with the supplier on all issues related to the devices, installation/delivery, training and engagement, and the service package. BCNPHA will not be able to assist with communications between housing societies that receive funding and the supplier.

What if a resident refuses to have a device installed in their unit?

The suppliers will provide resident engagement resources to housing societies that receive funding. It is not mandatory that devices are installed in all units/spaces. If some devices ordered are not installed, please contract BCNPHA (odtechfund@bcnpha.ca).

Once devices are installed in units, it is the choice of residents whether to use the devices or not. As units turnover, new residents will need to be informed about the devices and how to use them through the housing societies policies and protocols. Sensors installed in restrooms will impact all residents accessing those spaces and it may be necessary for housing societies to update policies and protocols.

What happens if we need more devices beyond what the funding covers to install?

Housing societies that receive funding will need to cover the costs of any additional devices and associated service packages.

What will be required of staff at my organization to operate and respond to the devices?

The overdose prevention devices installed through this initiative should supplement, not replace, the existing overdose prevention and response strategies and protocols housing societies that receive funding have in place for residents. When an alarm is received through the devices by staff, the housing society’s regular overdose response strategies and protocols should be put into action. As such, no additional training beyond what is provided by the device suppliers will be required for staff to respond to alarms. It is expected that the training already required by housing societies and its funders will be sufficient for staff to respond to overdoses among residents in the buildings where the devices are installed.

Housing societies that receive funding will also be responsible for submitting data to BCNPHA for evaluation of the initiative, as per agreements with BCNPHA.

What if staff do not have tablets/smartphones to operate the devices’ software and monitor for alarms?

Housing societies that receive funding will be responsible for ensuring on-duty frontline staff have access to working tablets and/or smartphones to monitor for alarms and fully use the software that accompanies the devices. Costs associated with the purchase or maintenance of tablets and/or smartphones for staff will not be covered through this funding initiative.

LifeguardLite™ central emergency control panels do not require wi-fi and all data charges are included with the package.

Will using the app incur additional cellular costs for my organization?

Possibly, yes. These costs will be the responsibility of the housing societies to cover. This funding initiative will not cover the costs associated with tablets/smartphones required to operate the devices’ software.

LifeguardLite™ central emergency control panels do not require wi-fi and all data charges are included with the package.

How does my organization communicate feedback about the devices back to the suppliers?

Feedback about devices should be directed to the supplier housing societies chose to work with. The suppliers have support lines that housing societies can call for assistance with the devices or their software. All troubleshooting and concerns about the devices or their software should be directed to the supplier housing societies are working with to resolve.

The BCNPHA evaluation forms for this funding initiative will also include space to provide feedback about the devices and the software, which will be aggregated across all sites that received funding through this initiative and shared with the suppliers and BC Housing.

What happens when the three year package ends?

Housing societies that receive funding will be responsible to cover the costs of service packages in order to continue using the devices beyond the three year period covered through this funding initiative. Service package costs may be different at the end of the three year period.

Related Links

Brave Co-op

Learn about Brave Co-op.

Learn More

Lifeguard Digital Health

Learn about Lifeguard Digital Health.

Learn More

BC Housing

Changes to the Residential Tenancy Regulations for supportive housing.

Learn More