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March 1, 2021

In honour of Women’s History Month, RHAC celebrates the incredible contributions women have made to our history, and our future. As an organization, we are always honouring the history and current realties of the HIV/AIDS movement. Since the earliest days of the AIDS crisis, women especially LGBT2QIA+ women of colour have been at the centre of community responses to HIV/AIDS as trailblazers and pioneers. Today, women continue to make HIV history as activists, organizers, scientists, health professionals, and more. This month is an opportunity to remember that women make history everyday as pioneers of movements and storytellers. Women are building better futures for all of us in no shortage of small, large, quiet, loud, and caring ways. Happy Women’s History Month!

Don’t miss out on these special dates and events during Women’s History Month. Details coming soon:

  •  March 8: #InternationalWomensDay
  • March 10: Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
  • March 12: Doing It for Ourselves (A Pleasure Workshop with Jess)
  • Weekly, starting March 8: Empowered (A Feminist Film Club in Collaboration with PLUMP)
  • and a special #InternationalWomensDay Speaker Series (announcing soon!)

 

March 1, 2021

 

 

In honour of Women’s History Month, RHAC celebrates the incredible contributions women have made to our history, and our future. As an organization, we are always honouring the history and current realties of the HIV/AIDS movement. Since the earliest days of the AIDS crisis, women--especially LGBT2QIA+ women of colour--have been at the centre of community responses to HIV/AIDS as trailblazers and pioneers. Today, women continue to make HIV history as activists, organizers, scientists, health professionals, and more. This month is an opportunity to remember that women make history everyday as pioneers of movements and storytellers. Women are building better futures for all of us in no shortage of small, large, quiet, loud, and caring ways. Happy Women’s History Month!

Don’t miss out on these special dates and events during Women’s History Month. Details coming soon:

  •  March 8: #InternationalWomensDay
  • March 10: Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
  • March 12: Doing It for Ourselves (A Pleasure Workshop with Jess)
  • Weekly, starting March 8: Empowered (A Feminist Film Club in Collaboration with PLUMP)
  • and a special #InternationalWomensDay Speaker Series (announcing soon!)

 

February 23, 2021

 

“The Harm Reduction Peer Empowerment COVID Recovery Project is meeting people where they are with mutual respect and kindness,” says Sonja Burke, RHAC’s Director of Harm Reduction. “The impact is: value and validation, a full stomach, equal pay for equal work, and human connection.”

Since launching in January, the project has welcomed 6 peers who work various shifts during the week, helping to prepare harm reduction and wound care kits. They are paid hourly, receive a warm meal, and are provided public transportation to and from our site. “It is a warm and safe place for people to be during the day versus on the streets," says Sonja.

Since the onset of COVID-19, the demand for harm reduction supplies has only increased. A growing number of clients are counting on RHAC’s harm reduction kits, which are made available through our 26 partner satellite locations, regular outreach services, and the new HOME program (www.homeprogram.ca). The Peer Empowerment project allows us to meet this demand and values the participation of people who use drugs by engaging them in our response to the ongoing opioid crisis and COVID-19 pandemic.

People experiencing addiction need access to safe and supportive spaces that can foster human connection. This is especially true during COVID-19, when isolation measures are impacting marginalized folks and the availability of services. Our peer program provides a space where participants can make connections with each other and to other supports (including housing, food banks and health services). 

We’re pleased with the positive impact this new program is making and—with the support and input of our peers—we expect this project to continue improving the lives of people experiencing addiction. Thank you to Jackie Hutchison our Peer Support Coordinator, to the Emergency Community Support Fund (London Community Foundation) and, most importantly, our peer participants for supporting this important and impactful initiative!

 

Here's what our peers had to say about this new project:

“I feel accepted and part of a group that understands me and doesn’t judge me.”

"My life is better since this started."

"I wake up feeling like I have a purpose each day."


(Photo: Peer Support Coordinator Jackie Hutchison)

February 17, 2021

 

Every year, the Ontario Volunteer Service Awards recognize volunteers for providing years of dedicated service to an organization. On February 17, we came together—virtually—to celebrate RHAC's 2020 recipients: Madeleine Barrette, Ray Sutherland and Jerry Ross. 

• Madeleine Barrette celebrates 10 years of service to the John Gordon Home, where Madeleine is known as “The Cookie Lady”. Once a week, she bakes the most delicious cookies for residents (and some lucky staff). She also supports our fundraising events, such as A Taste for Life and A Heartfelt Evening.

• Ray Sutherland was awarded for 5 years of service at RHAC, where Ray has been an integral part of the volunteer reception team, Red Scarf, A Taste for Life, and our weekly volunteer drop-in. 

• Jerry Ross was recognized for 5 years of service at the John Gordon Home. Jerry assists with weekly grocery shopping for residents and helps with set up special occasions like the Summer BBQ and Holiday events.

RHAC, and our John Gordon Home program, are so lucky to work with dedicated, committed volunteers who have stayed with us for years! On behalf of our clients, staff and Board: Thank you to our volunteers for all that you do. 

 

 

 

February 4, 2021

 

Today we’re excited to announce the official launch of the Health Outreach Mobile Engagement (H.O.M.E) Program. The H.O.M.E Program aims to improve the health outcomes and healthy equity of highly marginalized individuals by providing mobile health services to people where they are at.

The H.O.M.E Program provides a multi-disciplinary, multi-sectoral mobile response to improve the health outcomes and health equity of highly marginalized individuals in London. The H.O.M.E Program serves individuals who face barriers to accessing traditional models of healthcare and social services, including those who are homeless, insecurely housed, or under-housed.

The program is a collaborative approach between the London Intercommunity Health Centre, Middlesex-London Paramedic Services, Addiction Services of Thames Valley, and Regional HIV/AIDS Connection with various site partners including Goodwill Industries, London & Middlesex Community Housing, Winter Interim Solution to Homelessness Coalition, and Youth Opportunities Unlimited.

The HOME service model is the kind of progressive and integrated health care approach that is needed both in the context of the present COVID 19 situation and when we move past this pandemic. RHAC is pleased to collaborate with these respected community partners on this initiative as we strive to connect with and provide life-saving support to many of London’s most vulnerable citizens. - Brian Lester, Executive Director of RHAC

Visit www.homeprogram.ca to learn more.

February 1, 2021

 

February is Black History Month. Throughout the month, virtual events organized by the London Black History Coordinating Committee (LBHCC) will be celebrating the strength and resilience of Black communities in Southwestern Ontario. This year, all events (except February 19th's African Food Festival) will take place online using Zoom. You can register for online events at lbhcc.eventbrite.com and learn more at lbhcc.ca.

 


African, Caribbean and Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

On February 7, African, Caribbean and Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day helps to raise awareness and address stigma surrounding HIV, which continues to disproportionately impact African, Caribbean and Black communities.

Last year, many health experts and agencies finally acknowledged the long-standing effects of anti-Black racism as a public health crisis. As stated by CATIE, systemic racism in Canada 

"...has created inequities that leave African, Caribbean and Black Canadians more vulnerable to HIV infection and poor health outcomes. We have seen anti-Black racism in the disproportionate policing, criminalization and media reporting of African, Caribbean and Black people living with HIV for non-disclosure of HIV status. Furthermore, disproportionate rates of incarceration have a compounding effect on the risk of HIV and hepatitis C infection."

All of us must address inequities and systemic racism in our communities, not just one day or month out of the year, but every single day. To learn more, visit BlackHIVDay.ca.

December 23, 2020

Effective Dec 26 at 12:01 am until January 23rd 2021 the government of Ontario has announced that the province will be subject to a shutdown. 

The province-wide shutdown will look similar to the shutdown back in March, with only essential businesses being allowed to remain open.

Like the shutdown in March, RHACs “essential services” will continue to operate and will include;

  • Carepoint / Counterpoint Programs
  • John Gordon Home Program
  • HIV/HCV Support Services
  • Various Administrative Services

This shutdown is considered a state of emergency and RHAC may deploy staff resources to meet coverage needs across program areas as necessary (with training and support). 

Given this is the holiday season we recognize this development comes at a challenging time for most people. It is important to remind everyone that the best way to prevent COVID 19 transmission is through adherence to all public health recommendation/measures.

It is important to note that the government is also asking that “people do not leave home unless it is for an essential reason and only travel outside their own region if absolutely necessary”.  Further the government has notified citizens that “Anyone who travels within Canada during the province-wide shutdown is being asked to self-isolate upon their return to Ontario.” 

 

Click here for more information about the shutdown.

December 21, 2020

 

Regional HIV/AIDS Connection is currently seeking an Organizational Development Consultant who is also an independent contractor to act as the Program Administrator for the Ontario Organizational Development Program (OODP). To express interest in this exciting opportunity, please submit your proposal by no later than Monday January 11th, 2021 at 4:00 p.m.

For full details about this posting, click here or visit our Career Opportunities page.

For more information about OODP, visit www.oodp.ca.

 

December 5, 2020

 

We miss our volunteers. While RHAC continues to serve our community, something is missing: Our volunteers. Each and every one of you is incredibly important to our organization and our mission. You make a huge difference in our community, and your absence is certainly felt by our staff. While we miss all of you very much, your health and safety is our priority and we’re happy to know you are staying safe at home. You may not be here with us at the moment, but you are still a vital part of the RHAC family and our community. Thank you so much for all that you do!

We look forward to coming back together soon.

Fran McKeown, Coordinator of Volunteer Services

In recognition of our wonderful volunteers, RHAC is proud to honour International Volunteer Day. Here's what our remarkable team of volunteers accomplished in 2019:

      

November 25, 2020

Regional HIV AIDS Connection's (RHAC) Board of Directors would like to announce the release of our organization’s position statement on safe supply.

RHAC is an evidence-informed agency committed to harm reduction practices that positively impact those living with, at risk for, or affected by HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C. It is with this mission we strongly support the advancement of safe supply programs across London and all communities.

The response to the COVID-19 pandemic has shown how quickly our governments and our communities can come together in life-threatening situations. We ask that the same response be given to the ongoing opioid pandemic affecting those most vulnerable in our communities. Safe supply offers an evidence-based response that can reverse the increasing trend of opioid overdose deaths and other substance-related harms.

Given all these variables, the Board of Directors at Regional HIV/AIDS Connection strongly urge all levels of government to expand access to safe supply in Ontario demonstrating the courage to do what is right for those in need of support in our communities.

Read the full Position Statement on Safe Supply.

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