Working to engage youth, to help them in prevention and harm reduction.
Works with a highly transient population between 2 urban centers of Kelowna and Vernon.
ABOUT THE GRANTEE
The community of people working to support substance users and their families in Lake Country began working together as a result of a housing issue that arose in the community in approximately 2019. The lack of affordable housing and a cluster of unhoused people in the community highlighted complex issues related to mental health and substance use. The situation led to a number of community members stepping forward to help address those issues. Lake Country Health is the primary organization with the community that works to address the needs of substance users and their families.
Prior to the pandemic, the organization hosted weekly gatherings, referred to as ‘coffee shops,’ to engage with substance users and provide them with support, supplies, and a safe gathering place to meet with one another. During those times staff facilitated discussion about how to address needs and support within the community. During the pandemic, support changed, and staff provided one on one support only, in person or via phone. The organization continues to reach out to bylaw officers, RCMP, local schools, with the CAT, and public events. Now that the pandemic restrictions have eased, our organization has begun to work towards providing a gathering place for community building and community harm reduction work again. The pandemic, and the transient nature of the population in the community makes this work challenging, but we will work with local peer leaders with a focus on re-establishing a community hub, and peer supports/gathering.
Overdose Response Work
• Lake Country Health works to reduce the harm of substance use by providing supports to substance users and their family members, by offering harm reduction supplies and mental health supports.
• Lake Country health engages youth to create open dialogue, prevent risky substance use, and reduce the harm of substance use
• Lake Country health works to meet users and their families members needs and to engage them to provide supports
• Working with local youth to develop youth focused Tiktok content on the topic of harm reduction. Some Tiktok clips had 1000+ views. Aim to help develop 10 youth ambassadors/leaders a year in Lake Country. The youth peer leaders will learn about harm reduction and share the information with peers.