‘Integrated Care Hub’ opening at Artillery Park

Artillery Park. Photo by Tommy Vallier.

An Integrated Care Hub to serve Kingston’s most vulnerable population is set to open at Artillery Park on Monday, July. 20, 2020.

HIV/AIDS Regional Services (HARS) and Street Health Centre announced the establishment of the new 24/7 drop-in centre on Wednesday, Jul. 15, 2020. The location will provide a centre where individuals can access food, support, and conversation, with community organizations available to provide “broader social, economic and community health services to those we serve,” HARS said in a press release.

The Integrated Care Hub, funded by the City of Kingston and the United Way of KFL&A, will run as a pilot project until Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020. The City had previously disclosed Artillery Park was being looked at for a possible drop-in centre during discussions about the homeless encampment at Belle Park – City Council voted on Tuesday, Jul. 7, 2020 to extend the bylaw exemption allowing campers to remain at Belle Park until the end of July.

Now, beginning on Monday, Jul. 20, 2020, individuals will be able to access the Hub where staff from HARS and Street Health will be on hand, along with other community agencies, to provide support and resources, HARS explained.

“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,” HARS said in a press release. “Many of these community members have experienced high adverse childhood experiences, are living in toxic stress and experience ongoing retraumatization 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.”

According to HARS, the values, policies, and operational programming for the new Hub will uphold 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,” HARS said.

About HARS

“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.”

About Street Health Centre

“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.”

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