Alex became a DCSP client in the spring of 2020. She was known for unsafe behaviour when using methamphetamines and would often be found committing acts of petty theft and vandalism while under the influence of drugs. Alex was living out of a shopping cart and prone to a variety of extremely unhealthy actions, and there were reports that she had been barred for life from at least one homeless shelter.
Throughout the spring and summer, the DCSP continually engaged with Alex in a non-judgmental manner, focusing on safety and reminding her that we were there to assist her rather than penalize her for how she was behaving. Over time, Alex learned to recognize us as a positive contact. When she saw our teams, she would be more settled and engaged even when under the influence.
By late August, Alex was coming to us with her concerns and looking for help providing solutions to challenges with her personal affairs and finances. While we provided coaching on how to address her concerns, most notable was that Alex did not seem to be using drugs when she wanted to meet with us.
By fall, Alex was sober most of the time. We could see that her mental and physical health had improved remarkably and other agencies who have contact with her agreed. We shared with her the improvements we saw and she told us she had first reigned in her conduct in order to meet with us. This had allowed her some sober moments to reflect and make plans for her future, including asking us for help in finding volunteer and work training resources. To our knowledge, Alex is now off the streets and pursuing employment.
Throughout this time of engagement with Alex, we were consistently contacted by the Winnipeg Police Service and the Exchange District BIZ requesting our assistance in helping Alex due to the positive relationship we had built with her.