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Southlake program helping homeless patients find homes, services

Through the In-Reach program supported by TD Bank Group, a Southlake worker has been able to help more than 50 patients find safe housing
Blue Door CEO Michael Braithwaite and TD Bank Group branch manager Frances Wang attend the June 8 open house that recognized the support of TD Bank Group for the Health Hub and In-Reach program for individuals experiencing homelessness.

A newly launched program that provides support to Southlake Regional Health Centre patients who are experiencing homelessness has already helped 50 individuals find safe housing, as well as referred many others to community services. 

Blue Door recently held an open house for the In-Reach program, created by a donation from TD Bank Group and provided directly by Southlake.

“The In-Reach program enables us to offer wraparound support to Southlake patients who are experiencing homelessness,” Renee Bakuska, manager of community programs at Southlake, said in a news release. “Since beginning this program, Southlake’s In-Reach worker has been able to help more than 50 patients successfully find safe housing and has supported many others with referrals for community services.

"These patients may have otherwise fallen through the cracks and we are so grateful to be able to help them so they can focus on their recovery.”

In tandem with the In-Reach program, access to medical appointments and health services have been available at Blue Door's Health Hub at The Landing since last October, also with the support of TD Bank Group.

“When conducting our interviews at Passage House, one of the first pieces that almost every individual states they want to work on is their health,” says Amalee, Blue Door’s transitional housing and health manager. “While experiencing homelessness, most of our residents have been focused on getting through the day and have been unable to take care of their health concerns. Our Health Hub has been able to provide them with safe, accessible, low-barrier and trauma-informed health care — and has been well received and appreciated by the individuals at The Landing.”

Working with a registered practical nurse and family physician, the Health Hub offers a variety of services and supports including, but not limited to, medication support, requisition filling (phlebotomy), mental health support, addiction supports, health referrals, and community connections.

By having this physical space on site, individuals staying at The Landing have been able to meet with a family physician, sexual health nurses, dental hygienists, and addiction and medicine counsellors.

Since the pandemic, the rates of health issues among people experiencing homelessness have increased drastically. Among I Count 2021 survey respondents, 85 per cent had some form of illness, medical condition, physical or cognitive limitation, mental health or substance use issue.