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February 22, 2023
London, ON - In February, RHAC staff and clients participated in #HIVIsNotACrime: a special info session with Ryan Peck, Executive Director of HALCO (HIV/AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario), to learn more about the ongoing criminalization of HIV and the fight to change the law. Currently, HIV non-disclosure is a legal risk for criminalization in Canada. Non-disclosure can lead to an aggravated sexual assault charge, the most severe of assault charges in Canada, leading to jailtime and sex offender registration for life. No other medical condition has been criminalized in this way.
Over the past two decades, there have been almost 200 HIV-related criminal convictions in Canada, including convictions where there has been no HIV transmission. Canada’s long history of criminalizing PLHIV is rooted in stigma and outdated science. Research from the global community shows that criminalization is discriminatory, contributes to the stigmatization of PLHIV, and deters people from seeking out HIV testing and treatment, making HIV criminalization both a public health issue and a human rights violation.
People living with HIV (PLHIV) are not criminals. It’s time for HIV laws to catch up with science. HIV criminalization stops people from getting tested. It stops people from disclosing their status. It perpetuates institutional stigma. We cannot end the HIV epidemic without decriminalization.
February 17, 2023
London, ON - Regional HIV/AIDS Connection (RHAC), along with partners London Intercommunity Health Centre (LIHC) and Middlesex London Health Unit (MLHU), is pleased to announce the construction at 446 York Street is near completion and scheduled to open the week of February 27th to March 1st .
The Ontario Ministry of Health approved up to $1.795 million in capital funding for the approximate $2.2 million dollar project with RHAC securing the balance of the required investment. As a result of a tender released in March 2022, Bronnenco Construction LTD was the company selected for the retrofit project which commenced May of 2022.
“The project to renovate the space at 446 York Street and create a permanent supervised consumption and treatment site comes at a critical time for our community,” says Dr. Alex Summers, Medical Officer of Health with the Middlesex-London Health Unit. “The consumption and treatment model that has been the backbone of Carepoint has a proven history of saving lives and linking people to the supports they need.”
Like many cities and towns across Canada, London continues to be faced with a challenging opioid and overdose crisis, which has worsened because of increasing issues associated with the emergence of a more toxic and deadly street drug supply. The Carepoint program has seen the demand for its services continue throughout the pandemic. The program is a vital lifesaving service and wraparound support for many of London’s most marginalized citizens and remains a criticalpart of the care continuum in our community.
“We have been very eager for the construction work to be completed so we can provide this vital life-saving service in a well-designed and welcoming space as we continue to respond to London’s opioid /overdose crisis” says Sonja Burke, Director of Harm Reduction Services at RHAC.
Carepoint has been operating out of a temporary trailer on the property front at 446 York since end of June 2022. This transition has helped to orient service users to the intended long-term location of the program which has continued to run from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., seven days a week, including statutory holidays.
"Establishing a permanent Consumption and Treatment Service site is a testament to what is possible when we come together to support the needs of our most marginalized community members,” says Scott Courtice, Executive Director of the InterCommunity Health Centre. "The new facility will continue to save lives and will enhance our ability to support Londoners with wrap around medical and social services."
Interested in a tour? Contact Sonja Burke at firstname.lastname@example.org
February 16, 2023
London, ON - In partnership with Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, a new initiative is putting a smile on clients’ faces. The Community Service Learning (CSL) program offers supervised fourth-year dentistry students the opportunity to serve the unmet oral health needs of under-served community members, including RHAC clients. The program covers basic dental services at no charge to participants. These basic services include restorations, and targeted treatments to address infections and relieve pain.
Due to stigma, discrimination and other barriers, it can be difficult for clients experiencing homelessness and/or living with HIV to access the care they require. In collaboration with Schulich, the service hosted individual dental screenings to identify community members who would benefit from basic dental services and ran its first clinic on February 17, serving 12 clients!
The cost of this one-time course of dental treatment is covered thanks to a Strategic Priority Funds (SPF) grant from Western University. Working with Schulich, the program hosted dental screenings to identify community members who would benefit from basic dental services.
Thank you to Dr. Abbas Jessani and Schulich Dentistry students for collaborating with RHAC to provide clients with the care they deserve. RHAC and Schulich will be hosting its next dental clinic for clients on March 23, with each session
January 6, 2023
London, ON - In January, the long-awaited Community & Services Hub officially opened its doors at 602 Queens Avenue. The program is a proud partnership between London Cares Homeless Response Services, Regional HIV/AIDS Connection (RHAC), the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph (St Joe’s Café) and the Thames Valley Family Health Team (TVFHT). In a supportive environment and based on the core values of dignity, hospitality, inclusion, community, social justice, persistence and hope, these agencies are coming together to develop a hub to co-create community and address housing, health care needs, and link to support and social services.
The Hub provides supports and services to people experiencing homelessness and other barriers to wellness. The Hub is now open Monday to Friday (9:30am-12:30pm and 1:30-4:30pm), providing a place to belong for those seeking community and free supportive services, such as:
- Laundry facilities (including necessary supplies)
- Shower facilities (including towels and toiletries)
- Basic clothing (socks, underwear, warm clothing)
- Service referrals for housing, healthcare and wellness needs;
- Warm meals, and more.
This collaboration will provide long-standing core programs and services, and additional collaborative supports to meet the complex needs of many who will access the Hub.
The former church at Queens Avenue and Adelaide Streets had $3-million worth of renovations to house the new facility including a new kitchen, eating area, an elevator for accessibility, and a renovated communal meeting space. With a goal to strengthen wrap around supports for those accessing the Hub, the main floor offers office/meeting and clinic spaces that will be available to other values aligned community service providers.
“The focus of this facility is really about offering dignity, a sense of community and hope to London’s homeless population,” says Anne Armstrong, Executive Director of London Cares. “To address the homeless population, we need to help in a dignified manner. We may not eliminate homelessness, but to give someone the services they need to get out of poverty, will make a world of a difference to that individual.”
“We view the collaborative vision of our Community Hub as an important part of the “Whole of Community Response” which has become an imperative for diverse sectors within London in the effort to address the current challenges in our community,” says Brian Lester, Executive Director of the Regional HIV/AIDS Connection. “With our collective expertise and dynamic partnership, we look forward to opening our doors as we respond to the complex and intersecting issues that contribute to London’s homelessness and health crisis.”
In the media:
November 26, 2022
Red Scarf is bringing community back together—and back in time—to the disco era with live tributes to ABBA and the Bee Gees!
Regional HIV/AIDS Connection (RHAC) is proud to present our 5th annual Red Scarf concert supported by Bronnenco Construction Ltd. Every year, Red Scarf raises real awareness about HIV/AIDS to end stigma and support people living with, at risk for and affected by HIV. This year, we’re excited to announce Red Scarf Rewind featuring ABBAMANIA in support of RHAC’s client programs and services.
What: Red Scarf Rewind in support of Regional HIV/AIDS Connection
Who: ABBAMANIA and Night Fever in tribute to ABBA and The Bee Gees
Where: London Music Hall (185 Queens Avenue, London, ON)
When: Saturday, November 26 at 7PM
Tickets: $39.55 (plus fees) at LondonMusicHall.com
ABBAMANIA is an acclaimed tribute to one of the biggest pop bands in history, performing ABBA's greatest hits with authentic costumes, choreography and big studio sound. ABBAMANIA has performed internationally, and twice for the cast of Mamma Mia! The show also features Night Fever with all the high harmonies and stage presence of the Bee Gees. Don't miss two incredible shows on one stage for one night only!
Get tickets now in support of RHAC at LondonMusicHall.com
Thank you to this year's Red Scarf sponsors:
November 3, 2022
Given the increasing cost of groceries, Regional HIV/AIDS Connection's John Gordon Home (JGH) program is struggling to provide many basic items for our residents and those who reach out to us for assistance.
JGH would be grateful to receive donations of any of the following:
- Grocery store gift cards
- Personal hygiene products
- Bottled water/Juice boxes
- Granola Bars
- Warm clothes (socks/mittens/hats)
- Adult-size track pants
Please call ahead at 519-433-3951 to arrange a drop-off of donated items from the list above at 596 Pall Mall St.
John Gordon Home (JGH) is a program of Regional HIV/AIDS Connection. JGH, or 'the Home with a Heart,' supports people living with HIV/AIDS and HCV (Hepatitis C) who have immediate healthcare needs to realize positive health and wellness outcome through the provision of: Transitional care, respite care, and end of life care. Learn more here.
September 22, 2022
Regional HIV/AIDS Connection’s (RHAC) Executive Director, Brian Lester, has announced his planned departure from his role to begin retirement effective March 31, 2023. Over the course of 16 years of dedicated work, Brian has advanced RHAC’s mission, vision and values, bringing solution-focused approaches forward to catalyze significant organizational growth and realize positive community impacts.
Brian has consistently honored the agency’s community- and volunteer-inspired origins throughout his tenure with RHAC. His skill and passion for the work has been underpinned by strong and respectful trust relationships with funders, community partners, staff, volunteers, and supporters; all contributing positively to organizational health and community impact. Over the years, RHAC’s value statement—The Courage to Do What is Right—has stood out as a strong reflection of Brian’s belief in the advancement of social justice for people placed at the margins of our community. Brian’s legacy is one of truly courageous leadership.
Over the next six months, the Board will be conducting a thorough search to find RHAC’s next Executive Director. It is our priority to find a dynamic leader with a true passion and capacity to further RHAC’s mission: to positively impact the lives of individuals and diverse communities living with, at-risk for, or affected by HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C (HCV). Notices seeking applications for the position will be published soon on the RHAC website and through several other channels. The process is expected to be completed with a new appointment announced March 1, 2023.
Read the full announcement from RHAC's Board Chair, Chris Moss.
September 8, 2022
SAVE THE DATE: The Board of Directors of Regional HIV/AIDS Connection (RHAC) invite you to join us for this year’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Thursday, September 8 at Civic Garden Complex (625 Springbank Drive in London, ON) for a catered reception at 5:30 PM and our AGM from 6-8 PM. Please join us as celebrate the theme of ‘Courage on the Move’ and review our performance during Fiscal 2021 while reflecting on key impacts made in our community and welcoming the election of new members to the Board.
To RSVP, contact Naiomi at 226.376.5461 or email@example.com.
NEW MEMBERS: In order to vote we must receive your completed membership form and fees by Monday, August 29, 2022.
RETURNING MEMBERS: You may submit your membership renewal forms/fees prior to or at the meeting.
Contact Naiomi at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, concerns or to submit membership forms.
September 1, 2022
September 30 is Orange Shirt Day and National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. As an organization, we continue to acknowledge the harmful legacy and ongoing impact of atrocities committed against Indigenous communities. On September 30, we honour the children, survivors, families and communities affected by the residential school system.
This is the second year that September 30 has been designated a federal statutory holiday. RHAC will be closed on September 30, 2022.
Here are some actions you can consider taking today (and everyday):
- Wear orange, in solidarity, to honour the experiences of the children, survivors, families and communities affected by residential schools. Visit orangeshirtday.org to learn more.
- Review the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action.
- Listen to the stories and experiences of residential school survivors, including books and media by Indigenous artists, authors and creators.
- Donate to Indigenous-led causes, like Atlohsa Family Healing Services.
- Acknowledge and learn more about the traditional territories you are living and working on. To get started, visit:
- https://www.ontario.ca/page/ontario-first-nations-maps, or
- https://native-land.ca, or
August 16, 2022
JOB POSTING: Program Project Coordinator (Contract)
The HUB is a joint initiative created in partnership with London Cares Homelessness Response Services, Regional HIV/AIDS Connection, and the Sisters of St. Joseph Hospitality Centre. The HUB is a new, growing initiative that is anchored in shared values of dignity, deep hospitality, inclusion, persistence, and hope. London Cares is seeking a Program Project Coordinator to join our team in a full-time capacity working Monday to Friday, working weekends and holidays only when necessary. This role is currently a contract position with an end date of August 1, 2023. See the full job posting here:
- Program Project Coordinator (London Cares Homeless Response Services)
Please submit resume and cover letter by August 21, 2022 at 12:00 PM to HR@londoncares.ca.