For Alberta’s most vulnerable, issues that impact their risk of acquiring HIV, food and housing insecurity, overdose risk, and social isolation have gotten worse in the COVID-19 pandemic. We need your support to keep up with this demand.
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we adapted our services to meet the needs of our community; we have moved to virtual and in-person service delivery while increasing outreach services to ensure we support those who do not have the option to connect through online channels. Over the past six months, we began outreach in Medicine Hat, where we had over 850 contacts. In the same period, we have seen a 276% increase in our Calgary street outreach activities and supported over 2,700 contacts.
Photo caption: Frontline staff on outreach in Calgary
These efforts allow us to connect with people like Dominic, a young Indigenous man who met our Strong Voices Coordinator on street outreach in August: “I saw her with her wagon of stuff, condoms, socks, underwear. That is cool as a street guy; that’s what you need.” Since then, Dominic has accessed case management support through Strong Voices and in our client drop-in space.
“I want to keep working on myself. I keep seeing myself going in a circle. I want to find housing, a job, to keep moving forward.”
Originally from Ontario, Dominic was given up as a baby by his teenage mother, who had been through the residential school system. Adopted into a white family, he describes a feeling of otherness, “Most of us feel like we are apart from society. We look different; we get treated differently from our classmates.” He left his home at 16 and is now experiencing homelessness on the streets of Calgary. Dominic says the Strong Voices program has helped him find ways to meet his basic needs, achieve stability in his life, and enhance the connection with his culture. Dominic is determined to continue this progress.
Our part in Dominic’s journey to wellness would have been impossible without your support:
$50 provides one-on-one supportive counselling to a person living with or at risk for HIV
$100 provides an overdose prevention education session for up to 25 people
$300 supports an outreach shift that can reach 25 vulnerable people¬¬¬
$500 helps 25 of our clients with their basic needs such as food and hygiene supplies
You can support us to continue this work and achieve our vision. Together, we are: Empowering Choices. Engaging Communities. Ending Transmission.