The New Brantford Downtown Outreach Team (BDOT) Hits the Streets to Help People in Need Throughout the Downtown Core

Brantford Downtown Outreach Team standing on the sidewalk with masks on.

The BDOT team will be there for vulnerable people downtown Brantford who need help with addictions or mental health issues, or who are homeless or experiencing housing challenges.

St. Leonard’s Community Services, in partnership with Grand River Community Health Centre, Wilfred Laurier University (WLU), and The City of Brantford, have officially launched the Brantford Downtown Outreach Team (BDOT) this month.

The staffing model for BDOT consists of an Outreach Coordinator, Nurse Practitioner, Outreach Worker, and Peer Support Worker who will connect with vulnerable people in the downtown core who may be experiencing addictions, mental health, or housing challenges, and will be linking those individuals with the support services they need, including peer support, primary care and addiction medicine. 

The BDOT program was piloted in 19/20 with funding from the City of Brantford. In the pilot year the team engaged with more than 170 individuals in over 5,000 interactions. These interactions resulted in 2,066 referrals to community services, as well as access to essential items such as food, clean water and harm reduction supplies. Pilot evaluation shows significant system impacts.

Researchers from Wilfrid Laurier University estimated a reduction in use of hospital services, with decrease in Emergency Department visits estimated at 407 and inpatient visits at 195. The individual and system impacts are so impressive that the team has since secured two years of funding from Health Canada's Substance Use and Addiction Program (SUAP) 

The current iteration of BDOT is funded to run until March 2023 and is being evaluated by WLU. Participating community partners are optimistic that the information and data collected will support applications for ongoing funding.

If you would like to provide BDOT with information about a location and/or individual that they can connect with, please contact 226-227-9928 to have your message delivered directly to the team. If an individual needs emergency services call 911, if they need Crisis Services, please reach out to (519) 759-7188 (or 1 (866) 811-7188).

This project was funded by a contribution from Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program (SUAP). The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of Health Canada.

Photo by Vincent Ball / The Expositor (Source.)

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