People with substance-use challenges in Victoria, particularly those experiencing or at risk of homelessness, will benefit from extended life-saving services and supports.
The Province is investing $80,000 in Solid Outreach Society to continue providing peer support and harm-reduction services. The society offers accessible pathways to health and treatment for some of Victoria’s most marginalized people.
“Solid is a place of connection for people who don’t always get the care they should,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “With our funding, Solid will continue to welcome people with addiction challenges in Victoria and support them seeking the help they need.”
The society offers a low-barrier space with a comprehensive range of culturally appropriate overdose prevention, health education and support services delivered by people with lived experience of substance use to reduce the harm associated with drug use. Solid aims to help members stay alive during difficult times so they will have the opportunity to improve their lives with the proper supports.
“Without this grant, we would be a harm-reduction supplies pickup space, not the accessible drop-in space we are currently able to provide,” said Mark Willson, director of operations, Solid Outreach Society. “There is a serious lack of drop-in spaces for people who use drugs, people who are homeless and for people who might have basic housing needs met but who have nowhere to go during the day. Having a drop-in space and peer staff to engage and support them is the best way to connect people with health and harm-reduction services they wouldn’t otherwise have access to.”
Enhancing B.C.’s response to the toxic drug crisis is an integral part of A Pathway to Hope, B.C.’s roadmap for building the comprehensive system of mental-health and substance-use care British Columbians deserve.
“Our drop-in is a non-judgmental social space where people can feel welcome in a way they might not feel anywhere else. People who come in aren’t used to being listened to or cared for,” said Jerry Majalahti, peer support worker, Solid Outreach Society. “I listen and help people get the harm-reduction and health services they need. Slowly they open up, see the things we offer that can help them get better and feel better about themselves. We have support groups here every day and a way for people to give back by being on our daily street outreach team. But it all starts with a coffee and a warm, welcoming spot to sit for a few minutes and talk with friends and support staff. Having peer staff here that people can relate to and talk to is where real community and health starts.”
- Solid has a drop-in space at 1056 North Park St., which distributes all types of harm-reduction supplies and provides naloxone training, health education and peer support to help connect people with other services.
- Solid also has on-foot street outreach teams that distribute and collect harm-reduction and safer-use supplies twice daily, and promote weekly meetings for support groups.
- Solid’s peer workers are members who used harm-reduction supplies and other immediate services, became volunteers and secured employment. They help their community while building security in their own lives, including more secure housing and regular access to health services.
- The Vancouver Island Drug Checking Project, Cannabis Substitution Project and SAFER program offer on-site services at Solid’s drop-in location.
Solid Outreach Society: https://solidvictoria.org/
Mental-health and substance-use supports: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/managing-your-health/mental-health-substance-use
Stop Overdose: https://www.stopoverdose.gov.bc.ca/
A Pathway to Hope: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/BCMentalHealthRoadmap_2019.pdf