Our Waterloo Region Community Health Van
For many years, Sanguen Health Centre has worked with people who are living with or at risk of contracting Hepatitis C. As an organization we were aware that community health outreach is one of the most effective strategies to engage with people who live ‘outside’ of the system, who are marginalized, chronically poor, homeless or at risk of homelessness and who use substances. Creating the ability to go out and meet people where they are at really decreases barriers faced in accessing services, and builds relationship of trust and respect that translates immediately into better whole health outcomes. The model of a mobile community health van just made sense for Sanguen and the work we wanted to accomplish, and so the long road to acquire community partners and funding began.
The Waterloo Region Community Health Van was launched in 2015, and services have grown through partnerships with the Region of Waterloo and the TELUS HEALTH FOR GOOD Program. The ‘Van’ services Kitchener and Cambridge and makes different stops throughout these cities. Our interdisciplinary team staffs the Van, and connects community members with harm reduction supplies, such as new drug gear, needle exchange, condoms, etc; naloxone training and distribution; food, clothing, hygiene items, nursing, peer and social supports.
The Community Health Van works in close collaboration and partnership with so many other excellent services, strengthening the services offered to our community members.