4th Convergence by/for People Who Use(d) Illicit Drugs

Peer Convergence Ledger -L (June 16 2015)The Peer Convergence is a one-day, multi-workshop event held at the First Metropolitan Church in Victoria. It is a grassroots initiative focused on community building by and for people who use illicit drugs (PUID) and who face significant marginalization, stigma and barriers to health. Last year, over 50 PUID and 25 health and social service providers came together to learn from each other.

This event is an opportunity for graduates of Street College courses to put their advocacy and teaching skills into practice – all part of building local capacity, and a collective voice for change in regional/national health and drug policy and harm reduction services.

Workshops over the years have included:  safer use, harm reduction 101, supervised consumption services, OD prevention, social profiling

A view from the street (2015)

A view from the street (cover)

The Victoria Police Department (VicPD) conducted a Community Survey during March – April 2014 aimed at understanding community experiences of local policing and perceptions of safety in Victoria. Their survey is intended to inform VicPD’s strategic planning for 2015. Due to the mail-out nature of the VicPD survey, we recognized this survey would not reach individuals with no fixed address. We also recognized that feedback from this demographic is a critical component in informing strategic planning regarding community policing (as people with no fixed address have among the most frequent interactions with police).To address this, we delivered a modified version of the VicPD survey to 110 individuals with no fixed address (ie. people who are homeless or transiently housed) from May to August 2014. Our intention is that the valuable experiences of individuals with no fixed address will inform ongoing oversight and review of processes concerning VicPD operations.

A View from the Street – impressions of Victoria Police among people with no fixed address (March 2015)

Letter to Chief Elsner (SOLID, March 15 2015)

CAPUD report (June 2014)

CollectiveVoices(Final Report Cover)

To mark the first National Harm Reduction Day in Canada (June 12th), CAPUD is releasing a report calling for dramatic changes in the participation of people who use illicit drugs in the services, policies and research that directly impact their lives. [download English and French versions of the report below]

The report, Collective Voices/Effecting Change, is the result of a national meeting of fourteen organizations of people who use drugs from across Canada in October 2013. Meeting in Victoria BC, and hosted by members of SOLID, representatives highlighted multiple issues that impact the health, safety and well being of people who use drugs. The report outlines main issues all groups face, including lack of access to affordable housing, stigma and discrimination in access to housing and health care services, police harassment, criminalization and the need for drug policy reform, and lack of harm reduction services, particularly in rural areas.

Upholding the human rights of people who use drugs means ending these forms of discrimination, and the way to do this is to ensure people who use drugs are at the table when it comes to health services, research and drug policy. The report is geared towards immediate action on the ground, calling directly on people who are developing policy, programs, services and undertaking research to recognize these issues and to follow through on our recommendations.

CAPUD – Collective Voices Effecting Change National Report – English (PDF)
Une voix collective pour des changements concrets – français (PDF)

Community Responses to Criminalization

In November 2014, SOLID co-hosted a community convergence on the criminalization of poverty. Over 100 people in attendance, with reps from BCYADWS, SOLID, VANDU, Ankors, Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction Society, Committee to End Homelessness Victoria and others. Stay tuned for the follow-up meeting, with the aim of developing a strong BC-wide network opposing police targeting of the poor.

Concept paper and agenda

Community Responses to Criminilization (Nov 2014)