The Regional Municipality of Durham, City of Oshawa and John Howard Society announced the launch of On Point, a needle clean-up pilot project in Oshawa.
The pilot project involves the removal of dangerous needles and other drug paraphernalia from Oshawa parks and provides employment and support to participants with “lived experience” of homelessness.
The On Point participants receive supervision, safety kits and training to assist with the cleanup of needles and other drug paraphernalia left behind in identified priority parks and green spaces in Oshawa. Participants will be paid for their work.
In addition to training and employment, program participants are also provided with housing outreach services and other community resources to help gain the experience to transition to long-term employment.
The pilot project began this month and will continue until March 31, 2020. It is being funded through the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative (CHPI). The CHPI has received funding support from the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. The project is also funded by the City of Oshawa, which is funding the wages for the On Point team; The Regional Municipality of Durham, which is providing safety kits and the evaluation of the pilot; and the John Howard Society of Durham Region (JHS Durham), which is co-ordinating the participants and providing housing supports.
“This pilot project gives people who have experienced homelessness temporary employment and connects them to housing outreach services,” said Regional Councillor Bob Chapman, Chair of the Health & Social Services Committee. “This program relates to the Region’s commitment of ending homelessness and supporting strong and vibrant neighbourhoods as outlined in At Home in Durham, the Durham Housing Plan.”
On Point is an outcome of the Oshawa Unsheltered Residents Task Force (OUR Task Force), which was established in July 2018 to address the issue of unsheltered residents in Oshawa. OUR Task Force includes key representatives from the Region, City of Oshawa, Carea Community Health Centre, Cornerstone, Durham Regional Police Services, JHS Durham and other social services organizations.