St. Stephen's Community House

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St. Stephen's Community House


EmilyThe heart of the matter

Emily Brunelle helps people with endocarditis who use drugs intravenously

Endocarditis is the inflammation of the heart’s inner lining. The mortality rate in the first year is 5.5%. For people who use drugs intravenously, it’s a staggering 30%. Through the Cardiac program at the Augusta Centre, we save people’s lives by alleviating factors that contribute to mortality.

Emily Brunelle, Case Manager in the program, helps people with any surrounding issues. From providing referrals for primary or mental health care to assisting with applications for housing or identification, she provides personal attention to vulnerable people who may not have anyone else.

“We’re helping people who don’t have any community support, who haven’t worked with a Case Manager before. And providing holistic services helps them in so many ways that we might take for granted. I just did a Toronto Community Housing viewing with one of my clients. He’s got multiple health complications so getting him a safe home in a city like Toronto where getting good housing is so difficult…it’s super exciting!”

Getting wraparound support is only part of the issue. Most people in the program don’t have the social support to help them cope. Unfortunately, stigma still plays a role. And in the midst of the pandemic, the problem is magnified. “Emotional check-ins, especially during COVID-19, is a big part of what I do. Even a brief chat to let them know someone cares goes a long way.”

Read more stories / Read more stories from the 2019/2020 Annual Report