Harm Reduction Program

Healing Hearts Harm Reduction Program provides housing and support for people who use drugs who are unable or unwilling to stop.

We focus on the prevention of harm, rather than on the prevention of drug use itself. Turning Point philosophy is one of harm-reduction and it does this by multi agency partnerships.

We complement treatment approaches that seek to prevent or reduce the overall level of drug consumption. It is based on the recognition that many people continue to use drugs despite even the strongest efforts to prevent the initiation or continued use of drugs. Harm reduction accepts that many people who use drugs are unable or unwilling to stop using drugs at any given time. Access to good treatment is important for people with drug problems, but many people with drug problems are unable or unwilling to get treatment.

Many people who use drugs do not need treatment. There is a need to provide people who use drugs with housing that help to minimize risks from continuing to use drugs, and of harming themselves or others. Many people who use drugs prefer to use informal and non-clinical methods to reduce their drug consumption or reduce the risks associated with their drug use.

Intentions and Objectives

The aim of the program is to provide housing and support both men and women over the age of 18 safely within the community, who are experiencing housing problems due to drugs. This is achieved by providing a housing together with support tailored to each individual’s needs.

We attempt to achieve this by providing:

• Assured Tenancies Agreements.

• A Good Standard Of Furnished Shared Apartment Housing 

• Information And Advice, Informal Counselling And Support Around Drug Related Issues.

• Access To Treatment, Community-Based Programs And Services.

• Liaison With Other Professional Agencies.

• Support Tailored To Individual Needs.

The strategic purpose of Turning Point is one of harm reduction.

Harm Reduction:

Although abstinence/cessation from drug use may be desirable, it may not be attainable in the short term. Recognizing this reality, Turning Point has adopted a harm reduction approach.

We seek to work practically and safely with the issues involved. Our approach assists the users by encouraging safer practices with their drug use, which reduces risks to individual health and also promotes responsibility to community safety.

We have strong links with treatment agencies and programs, government funding programs and services, throughout Edmonton and surrounding areas. We are able to help clients gain access to those services. It is important to note that the responsibility for a change in behaviour rests solely with the client. By adopting harm reduction strategies we are providing people with the opportunity to contemplate change. Our intention is to create an environment that enables people with drug related difficulties to overcome and/or manage them and begin to live healthy and crime free lives again.

Support Services

We provide housing based support with the opportunity to provide floating support to a small number of substance users. Turning Point residents are approved Short-term Tenancies for a fixed 6-month term. All tenancies are reviewed at 6 months and are then renewable for further term as necessary.

We operate as a central worker and support planning system. We coordinate individual support packages drawing in expertise from various external agencies as appropriate. Residents can receive our services for up to a two-year period and will receive help to identify suitable housing when they are ready to move to independent living. We offer practical, realistic and “real-world” assistance with our residence.

Conditions & Referrals

Applicants for housing must be men or women over the age of 18 and in need of housing.

Referrals are accepted from a wide range of statutory and voluntary agencies. Initial contact is usually by a telephone call to the program. A comprehensive assessment is carried out immediately on the basis of support need and risk, by inviting the referral for an interview. If a referral is assessed as appropriate and a vacancy exists, accommodation can be offered.