VIDEO: Pilot Project to Become a Permanent Program
Some positive news for the Local Mobile Outreach and Support Team.
The team which is often referred to as MOST, has secured permanent funding from the Ministry of Health to continue offering services and supporting those facing homelessness along with mental health and addiction issues.
The team was launched on January 31st and was scheduled to be a six-month pilot project.
The team provides the service through a clearly marked van that makes regular stops Monday to Friday in the downtown and parts of west Windsor, helping those in need.
Adrienne Payne is a Housing Outreach Worker for Family Services Windsor-Essex.
She has been apart of the program since day one and believes the service is making a difference.
"I've noticed the consistency on the stops, more people coming to the van, more people coming every single night to the van, there's definitely more numbers and we're now starting to see the feedback of people's progress, we can kind of track and follow the stories a little bit more," says Payne.
Payne adds the van has at least two stops per night.
"We might be in Glengarry one night for two hours and then the accelerator downtown," says Payne. "We have basic needs, hygiene, food but we also have gift cards if somebody needs them to get out of the cold or the heat and we also provide community referrals."
Payne feels the community is becoming more aware of the service.
"We have community owners or neighbours coming to the van asking who we are, what do we do, we see your sign, how can we help," says Payne. "So I think it will provide a layer of comfort for kind of everyone. It's not just people who are experiencing chronic homelessness, like the community feels that extra support."
From the end of January to April 30th, the van had 849 visits.
94 percent were given supplies and 57 percent were supported referrals.
74 percent of those who visited the van were men.
The program is a partnership between Hotel Dieu Grace Healthcare, Family Services Windsor-Essex, Canadian Mental Health Association Windsor Essex Branch, Assisted Living Southwestern Ontario and the City of Windsor.
The program will receive more than $200,000 annually to continue offering the service.
The outreach team consists of a driver trained to support people with physical disabilities, an outreach worker and social worker.