UPDATE: Sept 16, 2020

As you are aware, while the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are also experiencing an epidemic of drug poisoning. As a direct result of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, larger numbers of people are being negatively impacted by a poisoned drug supply and a great number of lives are being lost. In addition, COVID-19 has really put a focus on the inequities that exist in our society, and how already marginalized individuals are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

In an effort to help to address these crises, on July 31, 2020, HARS and StreetHealth Centre (KCHC), with help from a number of community partners, have opened the Integrated Care Hub at a temporary location of Artillery Park Aquatic Centre in Kingston. This has been made possible thanks to the support of the City of Kingston, the United Way KFL&A as well as a number of generous community organizations.

Since opening, there have been on average 250 daily visits to the Integrated Care Hub. Over 100 meals a day have been served and over 130 unique individuals have accessed the Rest Zone. Harm Reduction supplies and Naloxone kits have been distributed in greater numbers than ever due to these being available 23 hours a day, 7 days a week. Community partners are making referrals to mental health and substance use supports, individuals are accessing housing, and the CTS (Consumption and Treatment Service), operated by KCHC/StreetHealth Centre is seeing it’s highest levels of usage since it opened in Kingston. 

The stats from the first six weeks of operation speak to the tremendous need that exists in our community for a program of this kind. They also speak to the effectiveness of providing supports and services, under one roof, to those we serve.  In short, the program is doing what we were hoping it would.  I want to extend my congratulations and thanks to the team and to our community partners who are making this happen!

I would also like to announce that funding for the Integrated Care Hub has been extended to July 2021, and that a longer term location for the Integrated Care Hub has been identified. Renovations are moving forward at a rapid pace in order for the Hub to begin operations at 661 Montreal Street by November 1st, 2020.

We are pleased and proud to be able to offer this service to our community’s most resilient people, who teach us so much each day, and whose lives inform our work. And we look forward to continuing to grow this new and innovative model of care and service delivery.

Stay tuned for more details as we prepare for our big move!

In solidarity,

Gilles

Gilles Charette (he/him)

Executive Director, HARS

News coverage about the Integrated Care Hub can be viewed at the following links:

https://www.thewhig.com/news/local-news/going-down-the-numbers-are-staggering

https://www.thewhig.com/news/local-news/its-very-scary-very-scary-this-year?utm_term=Autofeed&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook&fbclid=IwAR2HCwushKQB0kQgSWJZTQowPazf9mzpdIlgzGDpmg4NQmeJBL05qFWMKFA#Echobox=1609239801

https://globalnews.ca/video/7468851/integrated-care-hub-

https://www.thewhig.com/news/local-news/integrated-care-hub-staff-discuss-facilitys-operation

https://www.thewhig.com/news/local-news/kingstons-homeless-hub-sees-high-demand-council-told

July 15, 2020

HIV/AIDS Regional Services (HARS) in partnership with Street Health Centre, a part of Kingston Community Health Centres (KCHC) is announcing the establishment of an Integrated Care Hub (Hub) to serve Kingston’s
most vulnerable people. The vision for the Hub is to provide a 24/7 drop-in centre where individuals can access food, support and community; and where community organizations can provide broader social, economic and community health services to those we serve.


This pilot project, funded by the City of Kingston and United Way KFL&A, will be located at Artillery Park, 382 Bagot St, Kingston until September 30, 2020.


Beginning Monday, July 20th, individuals may access the Hub where staff from the two partner agencies as well as other community agencies will be providing support and resources.


Many members of our most vulnerable population are experiencing chronic homelessness and complex concurrent disorders. Individuals experiencing homelessness with lived experience of alcohol, drug and mental health diagnoses are among the most underprivileged and vulnerable groups in our society. Many of these community members have experienced high adverse childhood experiences, are living in toxic stress and experience ongoing re-traumatization due to systemic violence. Kingston is a community rich in resources, however, many of our most vulnerable community members are unable to stabilize in order to access services.


The values, policies and operational programming will be informed by the pillars of Harm Reduction, Trauma and Violence-Informed Care, Stabilization, Wellness and Cultural Safety. In addition, the project will place the lived experience of those we serve at the centre of the work, by engaging with individuals experiencing homelessness, poverty, substance use and mental health challenges in the creation of programming and policies for the Hub.


Since 1988, HARS has been providing comprehensive services including education, prevention, and support for people living with, at risk of, or affected by HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted blood borne infections(STBBIs). HARS’ UrWorx Harm Reduction Program focuses on urban and rural outreach to individuals who use substances, in order to minimize potential negative outcomes. In addition, HARS is continually advocating for broader social change to reduce stigma and discrimination.


Street Health Centre is a 365 day a year harm reduction health centre. Street Health specializes in providing accessible, responsive, health services to communities that are marginalized from mainstream healthcare
services. Street Health began as a needle exchange program in 1992 and has since evolved into a multi-service model, providing multiple health, disease prevention, primary care, and treatment services.


For more information, please contact Gilles Charette, Executive Director – HIV/AIDS Regional Services at 613-545-3698 or edhars@kingston.net.