Dans la rue
Founded in 1988 by Father Emmett ‘’Pops’’ Johns, Dans la Rue is an organisation without any lucrative objectives that works with youth living precariously. With the Dans la Rue truck, the emergency accommodation service as well as the day center, this organisation offers a wide range of services: places to sleep, food, various kinds of help navigating through the resources, socio-educative activities, psychosocial aid, accompaniment, references, socioeconomic insertion programmes, family support, and so on. Dans la Rue was the second partner organisation to have joined the GIAP, which at that time went by the name of “C’est dans la rue que ca se passe” (It’s in the street that it’s happening), in 1993.
At Dans la Rue, the Peer Helper makes regular visits to the day center and occasional ones to the Bunker. Their duties include active listening, offering support to the youth, giving information and organising activities to raise awareness. The Peer Helper also refers people to services that they might require and may accompany them to said resources as well as aid in paper work and other related tasks. They also help support the intervention team, by joining in meetings and sharing their alternative point of view with others.
L’Unité d’intervention mobile L’Anonyme
Created in 1989, L’Unité d’intervention mobile L’Anonyme provides help to young people in difficulty and to anyone engaged in risky behaviour that they meet while driving around certain areas of Montreal in their bus. L’Anonyme offers services of psychosocial intervention, and distributes and exchanges prevention equipment. L’Anonyme also sets up many projects designed for young people, particularly in schools and with community radio stations. L’Unité d’intervention mobile L’Anonyme became partner with the GIAP in 2003.
Our peer helper working with L’Anonyme establishes regular presence aboard the bus. They use active listening techniques, provide support and information, and distribute and exchange sterile supplies. The peer helper also refers drug users to the appropriate services and can provide individual coaching outside the bus if needed. The peer helper attends the weekly team meetings, where they share their opinions with the intervention team. Not only does the peer helper get involved in the projects led by L’Anonyme, in particular in the radio project, but they develop special projects focusing on STBBI prevention and directed towards the users of the services offered by the mobile team.
CACTUS Montreal is a community organisation that was founded in 1989. Their mission is to reduce the spread of HIV, hepatitis and its sub-types as well as other infections sexually transmittable by the blood, including those linked with drug use. CACTUS Montreal also strives towards eliminating feelings of exclusion and marginality felt by those whom consume illicit drugs. On top of having a distribution center where free sterile material is given out, CACTUS also offers intervention aid on the streets with their Street Workers and diverse social inclusion projects. Being the primary funding behind GIAP, CACTUS Montreal joined the Peer Intervention Collective (GIAP) in 1997.
CACTUS welcomes one Peer Helper at the heart of the “site fixe”, for evening and night shifts. During their time there, the Peer Helper actively listens, gives information concerning the “site fix” and its services as well as assists users in their trajectory (if and when desired), while giving out clean and safe material. Occasionally, the Peer Helper is also asked to help in the proper function of the “site fix”, though that would not fall under his/her primary roles. Yet joining in on the teams group discussions is something that the Peer must do on a weekly basis.
Le CSSS Jeanne-Mance
The CSSS Jeanne-Mance is a public health social service that offers, through their Clinic for Youth in the Street services of health, including psychosocial health, to those aged 14 to 25 years old living in instability linked to the street life. The team is comprised of doctors, nurses, dentists, a psychologist, a social worker and a Peer Helper. Both the nurses and the social worker commute to other organisations in order to provide their services to a wider range of individuals. Interestingly enough, the CLSC was the founder of what is now known as the GIAP today, in 1993 under the then named “C’est dans la rue que sa ce passe”.
The Peer Helper aids in forming the bridge between the youth and the services they may need. Accompanied by a professional of the clinic, the Peer Helper does outreach downtown as well as in other organisations in order to promote services that are available at the Clinic for Youth in the Streets. The Peer Helper also accompanies the youth with processes that may prove to sometimes be difficult, such as admission to therapy, seeking places to stay, applying to school, applying for a health care card, receiving social aid or even trips to the clinic (especially in the afternoon when health insurance cards can be applied for). In short, the Peer Helper directs their work towards preventing STD’s, promoting health and demystifying the work of professionals, so as to help the youth feel more at ease.
Médecins du Monde Canada
Launched in 1999, Medecins du Monde (Doctors Without Borders), aim towards improving the health conditions of those touched by homelessness, marginality, less fortunate circumstances as well as those whose statuses exclude them from social services. The actions take place under three umbrella terms: the care and health of vulnerable populations, psychological support and sensitization of the area. Health care is provided by nurses who work by proximity, in partnership with the Street Workers and social workers of the area. They meet people who are struggling on the spot, with efficiency and understanding. MdM has recently innovated and brought to light a mobile clinic, which allows the nurses to offer health care in neighborhoods that are affected by poverty and which have little resources. MdM is the newest partner of GIAP, coming into the team in 2014.
In Medecins du Monde, the Peer Helper’s role is to make the link between the marginalized youth and the professionals in the mobile clinic as well as in the actual center. This mobile clinic frequents multiple areas in Montreal. Because it is new, the Peer Helper also promotes services to all; those who simply did not know of it, to those whom are a little more suspicious or less comfortable with such services. The clinics main mandate is to accompany youth in their processes, whether it be to be with them while they go to social aid bureau, looking for an apartment, going to court and so on. Being someone who is able to refer people is an important job of the Peer Helper, as well as helping to prevent the spread of HIV, HVC and other STD’s.