St. John’s, NL
Street Reach is a grassroots outreach service that has been operating in the downtown core of St. John’s since 2005. The program is guided by the principle of harm reduction and has two main components – outreach, and individual support. Street Reach is unique in that it provides support across all age levels, evening drop-in (located at Gower Street United Church) and outreach walks (in both downtown St. John’s and Mount Pearl areas).
Drop-in support is also provided during the week at our office, located at 108 Lemarchant Road. From this location, staff provide follow up support to individuals with regard to issues such as housing, inter agency advocacy, health, crisis management, etc.
Over the past several years, the program has supported over 1200 participants who count on us for their basic needs, sense of belonging, and the real support they receive. Our services include food, personal care items, outdoor clothing/footwear, telephone access, condoms, information, supportive and caring interactions, assistance with accessing emergency housing, referrals to external services, we are a SWAP satellite site and provide safe drug equipment, information and support. We are also an official site for providing Naloxone kits and training to individuals at risk of overdose.
Street Reach also provides intensive case management to participants who have complex challenges, are experiencing housing instability, and are not connected elsewhere for supports/services. Through crisis intervention, system navigation, advocacy, and one to one support, the Coordinator is able to support their needs and strengthen their connections in the community.
In spring 2016, Street Reach expanded to the City of Mount Pearl and has been met with great success ever since. It was identified that there was a gap in services and we needed to reach more vulnerable youth. Individuals were travelling from the Mount Pearl area to downtown St. John’s, but transportation posed a significant barrier. Thus, it was decided to expand to the Mount Pearl area. Thrive took a new approach by offering the outreach support needed in the community and by holding weekly walks with participants.
Once the program began operating, the number of youth attending the program was evidence to support the expansion and presence in Mount Pearl. The number of connections that staff are making with youth continue to rise, and we have averaged about 175 youth being served at Street Reach Mount Pearl.
Thrive uses an external consultant to evaluate and measure the impacts and outcomes of all our programs. Participants of the Street Reach program have reported positive, life changing outcomes with 73% of current program participants reporting that Thrive has helped provide them with basic items they require for day to day living, and that they feel more positive about their future since they’ve started coming to Thrive. And 63% report that they have a plan or at least some next steps for moving forward in their life.