HSABC 2022 Conference Peer Led Projects and Initiatives Tradeshow

This is a library of Peer-Led Initiatives from different communities in BC. Designed by a peer advisory group, HSABC launched a small grants project to support visibility, and collaboration, and highlight the impacts of People with Lived and/or Living Experience (PWLLE) in the homelessness serving sector.


Coalition of Substance Users of the North

CSUN was the first Drug Users Group formed in the Northern Region of BC. CSUN has grown over the past 5 years from small gathering meetings to a full range of Harm reduction/OPS services within our office location in Quesnel BC. CSUN is by and for PWLLE, we support substance users by facilitating the development of programs, services and resources for our community members and providing regional representation and community-based participation in Bc's and Canada's overall response to the unregulated drug poisoning crisis and any and all matters that impact people who use drugs. 

Family Recovery Society of Canada

Family Recovery Society of Canada VISION: Our vision is to create an inclusive community of empowered parents free from the stigma, isolation and effects of addiction. Our aim is to advocate for parents rights and freedoms to create a more fair and just society in Canada for parents in recovery from addiction.

MISSION: Our mission is to engage, educate and empower parents in recovery from the effects of drug and alcohol misuse by increasing access to community, education and resources that decrease intergenerational trauma, develop recovery capital and support the maintenance of long-term recovery.

VALUES: We strive to value, respect and support the dignity of each mother, father and child in our community on their path of healing and personal development.

In 2017, our community began as a private Facebook group in New Westminster BC of mothers in recovery from addiction to share resources, supports and services in our community. It was also a way to talk about the things that we don’t talk about in society such as domestic abuse, substance misuse, overdose, mental health and homelessness. In 2018, our community became a nonprofit grassroots, volunteer and peer-led organization that served mothers in recovery from addiction, mental illness and poverty.

Our virtual community continued to grow across Canada and we began to have in-person support meetings in New Westminster, Coquitlam and Maple Ridge. In 2020, COVID-19, the overdose crisis and limited access supports and services struck our community. We began hosting daily meetings on zoom to support and connect our community in their recovery from addiction, mental illness and poverty.

Through funding through Red Cross Canada, we were able to offer relapse prevention programs, a podcast to decrease stigma and increase awareness of the presenting challenges and direct aid to our members. The fathers in our community wanted access to these supports and services as well.

So in 2021, we became Family Recovery Society of Canada with the aim to support the entire family under the umbrella of our organization with the mission to engage, educate and empower parents in recovery from the effects of drug and alcohol misuse by increasing access to community, education and resources that decrease intergenerational trauma, develop recovery capital and support the maintenance of long-term recovery. Today we are an equity-led, peer-led, indigenous-led organization in British Columbia. We have indigenous members at every level of our organization and every member in our community has a respected voice. In the recovery community, everyone is interconnected and our organization has always grown by word of mouth. When parents in recovery hear about our services, programs, support groups (Zoom meetings & virtual Facebook community) and sober family events through treatment centres, friends and family they are relieved to have found their people.

As we are all volunteers, we are currently seeking funding to grow and expand our organization, impact and reach. We want service providers to be aware of our services and be able to direct more clients that are not connected within the recovery community towards our supports, services and sober family events. For more information about upcoming programs, services and events please join our email list at www.familyrecoverysociety.com "Recover like a Mother"


Indigenous Innovations

We help Urban First Nations people over come barriers to health care. We can help with feet, teeth, eyes and medicine. We help book appointments, get information, make appeals and anything it takes to make sure our clients get treated with proper service and respect every time and every where they go. Our corporate mission is to postively impact how First Nations experience and are treated in the medical system throughout Canada. Our organization helps First Nations in Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland navigate the health care system.  Our biggest challenge is working with homeless clients that don't have a cell phone or any form of communication besides meeting them face to face.

Knowledging All Nations and Developing Unity (KANDU)

Both my partner and I, Joshua are the founders and creators of an Indigenous Peer Led Support/Drug User group called Kandu. We formed in 2019 and our acronym stands for Knowledging All Nations and Developing Unity. We both have a multitude of lived experiences, with 5 children and 3 grandchildren. We are located in West Kelowna, but we also serve the peers in the Kelowna area. Our mission is to meet peers where they are at and provide support and resources as needed. We currently have office space in West Kelowna which is accessible 6 days a week for the vulnerable and street entrenched people living in our community. We provide a variety of services from advocacy, harm reduction distribution, peer training opportunities, peer engagements, cultural education, land-based harm reduction, mentorship for peers, one-one support and elder support, transportation for peers, healthy food options and snack distribution, youth prevention program, outreach and in reach programs and wellness activities for peers. Our office space is stigma free, that has access to a washroom, temporary storage, Wi-Fi and a resting station. We also provide eOPS and connections to various community resources. We have over 200 active members. We also have an outreach vehicle that we use to transport our youth for our on the land’s workshops and programs and/or to do wellness checks on our vulnerable population, also at times we have provided transportation for peers with mobility issues. We are also involved in various Peer Research Groups and sit on many advisory tables as lived experts.

Open Heart Collaborative

Open Heart Collaborative is a peer led organization that has been operating since 2019 out of Nanaimo, BC and remotely across Canada. Founded by two young women with lived and living experience around mental health, substance use, homelessness, poverty, and other social and economic issues. Open Heart was created to take those experiences and use them to better services, educate the community, reduce stigma, and build capacity and set goals in others with lived and living experience. Website: https://www.openheartcollaborative.com/

Thomus Donaghy Overdose Prevention Site

Please find complete peer interviews here.

Peer work is the inclusion of people of lived experience of trauma and adversity in solving problems experienced by people struggling with similar challenges. It is the practice of using ones own knowledge of recovery from difficult circumstances and through reciprocity engaging using that lived experience to promote others recovery. In partnership with Vancouver Coastal Health to provide Peer Specialist healthcare services in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, the Peer Services Department was formed to encompass and support the wide range of Peer Services that are currently offered and to expand and enhance these services both internally and externally. Peer work is embedded in RainCity’s programs at all levels: honorarium peer work for participants in our programs, hiring practices that value lived experience, unionized Peer Specialist positions on our outreach and supportive housing teams, and a Peer-designated Associate Director position.

Straight to the Point

Together with the Sunshine Coast Community Action Team and the Sechelt Downtown Business Association, Sechelt OPS operates Straight to the Point, a needle clean-up program that hits the streets 4 days a week to pick up discarded syringes, garbage, and other harm reduction detritus that sometimes gets discarded as litter. Straight to the Point is a peer-led and peer-staffed initiative. STTP has flourished since starting up midway through 2021.


 Uniting Northern Drug Users UNDU'ing Stigma

Indigenous led, peer run organization that thrives on a wide range of lived and living experience that comes together and uses our expertise to respond to others who are struggling or that we can relate to in order to help support them, bridge gaps/barriers within the system and connect them to community resources to help improve their health and well being and to push for change within our destructive and harmful system. We empower our peers and help give them a sense of belonging, identity, and hope.

We offer a culturally safe and trauma-informed approach to the work we do and try to educate others/our allies on the value of working "together" in order to respond to and support people who are exposed to risk and harmful environments and were impacted by colonial destruction/genocide, survivors of the war on drugs and mental health. We judge no one and accept all who reach out for peer support. We've successfully done many projects and initiatives and some of the work we offer is; weekly drug users meetings, support groups, training and education, peer employment, mentorship, advocacy, outreach, navigation, community resource connections, peer support, integration, reunification, community events, harm reduction and STBBI supplies/education/support, cultural support/healing, overdose response/monitoring, and much more!

We currently offer frontline, mobile episodic overdose response, hand out harm reduction supplies, snacks, drinks, hygiene products, naloxone kits, donations, provide episodic naloxone training and peer support, and collect data on everything. We also provide peer support, overdose response and monitoring, outreach, advocacy, harm reduction supplies, donations, drinks, snacks, training, community resource connections, and much more at the Knight's Inn temporary housing project with the Native Friendship Center. We have held events at Moccasins Flats aka our tent city and have started a community garden there with more to come.

We are currently working on getting a Mysafe vending machine that will also offer a safe space to use their prescriptions with harm reduction and peer support. We currently have over 50 members who are active and have helped many throughout their journey and many would say that we've given peers something to look forward to, hope, and saved their lives.