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🔥🔥OPEN LETTER to @govbc

Re: “Twelve Points for Action to Prevent and Manage #COVID19 for People who are Homeless/At Risk of Homelessness and People who use Drugs”

@adriandix @DarcyJudy @BC_Housing @ShaneLSimpson

#bcpoli #harmreduction
1. Handwashing stations immediately needed in public locations.

Today there were over 150 people on Pandora avenue in #Victoria; how are we prioritizing hand washing without access to clean water and sinks?
2. Immediately identify spaces for homeless and unstable housed people to stay at home and to self-isolate when symptomatic.

HOUSING IS FRONTLINE PROTECTION. ✅
3. Immediately ⬆️ number of shelter spaces in distributed sites.

“There are many locations available given closure of city facilities”
4. With regard to camping, municipalities should immediately cancel ‘no camping bylaws’, identify spaces for camping; and stop policing people for being homeless.
5. Provide regular and daily updates from public health to shelter and harm reduction organizational leaders.

“Accurate information from public health should be communicated to homeless and harm reduction organizations”
6. Re-envision outreach services.

“Outreach teams need supplies of soap, hand sanitizer, masks and food.”
7. Provide Nursing Support.

“Shelter and Harm Reduction organizations need support from nurses and/or pubic health to identify signs and symptoms appropriately so as to not overwhelm emergency services”
8. Establish mobile and satellite testing centres.

“In times of duress testing/screening must be made accessible beyond those with the privilege of cell phone and internet access”
9. #OPS and #SCS continue to be essential services.

✅We are still in a public health overdose emergency
✅workers need personal protective equipment (PPE)
✅these centres are prime for communicating essential information and screening for symptoms
10. Ensure patients can access medications and maintain physical distancing and/or self-isolation.

👏Wave 👏 Requirements 👏 for👏 doctor visits👏 and urine screening
11. Immediately decriminalize currently illicit substances and ensure a SAFER SUPPLY.

“The drug market is clearly becoming more volatile with increased risk of harms”
12. ⬆️ Income Support Payments

“With many drop-ins and meal@programs closing food insecurity is of great concern”
We urge our decision-makers to listen to the evidence and public health experts!

We are in the midst of parallel crises; one #overdose crisis claiming the lives of 3 people in BC every day, and now an unprecedented pandemic.

Now is the time to act.
Link to full letter!

Thank you to @BerniePauly @lilbbyacademic @mlgagnon_XVII @nursembrown Mark Wilson, Katrina Jensen, Smaragda Agathoklis, Lesley Munro, and Lisbet Rygnestad for your advocacy.

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