Name of Town: Penticton,
Consistent representation of local government at the table
Interview with Jen Casorso of the Penticton CAT.
“Everyone is motivated to achieve the same goal. We all want to prevent overdose deaths. We want to save lives, to create a vibrant community for everyone, and that means there needs to be a variety of services to meet people where they are.” – Jen Casorso, CAT Coordinator.
Members of the Community Action Initiative sat down with Jen Casorso, CAT Coordinator to discuss the to discuss the evolution, learnings, and proud moments experienced while being a member of the Penticton CAT.
The second initiative was supporting the creation of a peer network called the Lived Experience Circle (LEC), which formed in 2020 through the support of OneSky Community Services (OSCS) with CAT funding. OSCS, through their Harm Reduction Outreach Coordinator, has been facilitating the LEC meetings, and building member capacity to identify key issues in the community and how they would like to see systems and services in the community change to better meet their needs. We discussed what the CAT was hoping to achieve, and OSCS took it and made it come to life. The first year has been about building capacity and the creating of the LEC has been instrumental in creating a safe space in the community for PWLLE to convene and share experiences. Participation in the LEC has built leadership and functional capacity among the peers to effectively organize and advance their collective priorities. Currently the LEC is comprised of six peers with the support of the Harm Reduction Coordinator at OneSky.
There are also several projects that the CAT would like to tackle that will be best achieved in partnership with them. What made the most sense here was to work with some of the existing Peer Coordinators and Harm Reduction Coordinator-type supports, because they had trusted relationships and access to people.
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