KITCHENER - A pilot project to get rid of used needles in public spaces could become permanent in more parts of the region.
On Tuesday, a request was made at regional council to have it fully funded for next year.
The pilot project took place in downtown Galt.
The results were so successful that Public Health has asked not only for it to become permanent, but that it be implemented in other parts of the region where it's needed too.
The pilot project was called Working to Improve Neighbourhood Safety, or WINS.
It was run by Sanguen, who hired peers: those with lived experience of drug use.
They were responsible for picking up and reducing used needles, talking to users about properly disposing of them.
The group collected 3,400 needles over the course of the 12-month project.
More importantly, it gave the hired peers hope.
When we spoke to the peers and what this program meant to them, what they reported is that this created a lot of meaning in their life," explains Grace Birmingham, manager of harm reduction with Region of Waterloo Public Health.
"They felt that this helped them in their recovery efforts and that they were giving back to their communities."
The proposal to expand the program was presented as a staff report to the community and services committee.
It will be discussed again later on in 2019, closer to when talks resume about the region's budget for 2020.