C.O.A.C.H(Community Outreach Action Collaborative Hamilton) program is new; however, it is just a combination of programs we were already running with some editions!! Our Substance Use Management Program, our Connections in Corrections program and our new Transitional Living Program.
Project objectives of the COACH program are:
To provide rapid Assessment and Case Management Services.
To provide harm reduction and outreach services to bridge gaps in existing service provisions.
To facilitate programs using a client-centred framework that ‘meets clients where they are at.
To reduce Access Barriers Associated with low socio-economic status.
To improve access to services by promoting multi-agency collaboration;
People with lived experience will have an impactful role in the design of services; and
People with lived experience actively involved in engagement with program participants and delivery of service.
SUBSTANCE USE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM - Gives folks an alternative to traditional withdrawal management, though utilizing a harm reduction approach that supports the numerous paths to recovery from Substance Use Disorder. Methods include co-creating a tapering program, medication-assisted treatments (MAT), cannabis support for opioid withdrawal, and abstinence support. Participants can exercise their autonomy and choose what’s right for them within the comfort of their own home or shelter setting. The program participant has access to an online course that lets them look at various methods to navigate substance use. Once in the program, a peer worker will help participants navigate withdrawal and make referrals to various community partners to implement whatever recovery path is chosen and aftercare support. They do not need to be involved with the criminal justice system to access substance use management support.
CONNECTIONS IN CORRECTIONS PROGRAM - The Connections in Corrections component of the COACH program focuses on folks who are exiting provincial and federal correctional facilities. The program participant will be assigned to a full-time team member for one year of intensive case management. The full-time team member will orchestrate wrap-around support in the form of discharge planning, housing supports, family reunification, ID recovery, mental health supports, and other unique needs expressed by the participant. They do not need to be a person who uses substances to access this support.
Regardless of the entry point, once into the COACH program, folks can access either Substance Use Management or Connections in Corrections components based on needs expressed.
UP AND COMING: The COACH Transitional Living Program
In a partnership we facilitated with Hamilton housing in the Vanier Towers Community Hub and this has provided us with the opportunity to secure four bachelor units at market rent for $559 a month. We have recently finished the head lease negotiations and plan to have the units operational by the end of June. These units are specifically for COACH program participants. Similar to our other programs, the units operate from a harm reduction and trauma-informed framework. We do not penalize, or service restricts program participants simply because they use substances. We work closely with program participants to help them develop the skills necessary to maintain long-term housing. Each program participant co-creates their discharge date within reason and is assigned a full-time team member to help facilitate their future vision plans. We are all excited and looking forward to seeing how this program will develop as it grows along with our agency.