St. Stephen's Community House

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St. Stephen's Community House


JasonRising to the challenge

Jason Bourner shares the difficulties of working at our Overdose Prevention Site during COVID-19

“We’re working extra hard to navigate this surreal situation of operating during the pandemic and supporting people who come to the Site. It’s been tough for us since all of our funding comes from donations, but our struggles don’t come close to the challenges faced by the people we help. 

"For people who are homeless, it’s particularly difficult. They can’t really do social distancing. People have moved from shelters to tents, only to be evicted by the City. They’re grateful that we’re open during COVID-19. One person told me he literally didn’t have anywhere else to go. Nowhere to sit down for a meal; nowhere to shower; nowhere to go to the bathroom. So many people feel isolated and have struggled with depressive episodes.

"The pandemic has had deadly consequences for all people who use drugs. Market shortages have made the drug supply more toxic than ever, causing a spike in overdose deaths. That’s resulted in tremendous grief in our community, which in turn can lead to more overdoses.

"Thankfully, we have a great team that has adapted and has risen to the challenge. We’ve made extra effort to distribute naloxone kits and provide training, to remind people of the dangers of using alone and how to use more safely. And we’re working with all levels of our government to raise awareness about the overdose crisis, and the need for decriminalization.
It’s a privilege to provide whatever support we can for the exceptional, resilient people who come here.”

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