Richmond Mental Health and Substance Use Services Gets a Boost
A team with Richmond Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Services has helped Vancouver Coastal zoom past a milestone by acquiring VCH’s first electric fleet vehicle.
To serve their community members affected by serious mental health concerns, the team goes into the community to support clients who need care, sometimes driving them to appointments and other community programs. Until this past spring, staff had been using their own vehicles to provide these services.
After receiving a generous donation from the Richmond Firefighters Association, Gregg Loo, the team’s Operations Manager and a strong electric vehicle (EV) advocate, thought that this could be the perfect opportunity to both facilitate the work of the team and their operations, while decreasing their environmental impact. He worked with Ashok Mishra, Director of Project & Planning in Richmond to plan for, select, and purchase a new EV for the team.
The team started using the new EV in the spring of 2022, and Gregg says the feedback from staff and clients has only been positive.
One team member said they were “overjoyed,” when they discovered that environmental sustainability was a consideration when purchasing a fleet vehicle for the team. Another said, “I appreciate that it is [a hatchback] so we can fit multiple car seats, move furniture for families, or pack it full of youth for an outing.”
One of the most significant benefits for the team is that they no longer have to use their own non-EV cars, or purchase gas, which relieves stress about their impact on the environment when serving their clients.
“All of our child and youth programs focus on providing the easiest access to services. Some clients like to come to our offices, while others prefer to be seen in the community. When staff have outreach appointments, one of the biggest concerns is the environmental impact of driving to different locations within Richmond. Having an electric vehicle alleviates that concern.”
If your department is considering the purchase of an EV, Gregg recommends evaluating your team’s unique needs (such as types of trips and distance of trips) and the charging infrastructure available. It could also be helpful to have an advocate within the department, particularly someone in a leadership position like Ashok, who can provide guidance and expertise on the process.