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Street outreach initiative aims to connect individuals to care

The New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) has awarded $250,000 to Odyssey House in one-time funds to support street outreach activities in Harlem. Recognizing the many reasons individuals do not seek substance use disorder treatment in traditional care settings, this initiative aims to provide in-community engagement, harm reduction, and support services to individuals not connected to care.

The SAPT Supplemental Street Outreach Initiative, which runs through December 31, 2023, provides funds to purchase a van, harm reduction supplies, and hire one peer outreach worker based out of the admissions department. Since being awarded the contract, Odyssey House has hired a Certified Recovery Peer Advocate, Timothy Robinson, to conduct the outreach and bring harm reduction resources and connections to services to Harlem.

Mr. Robinson’s work includes offering opioid overdose reversal training (naloxone) and providing additional harm reduction supplies (e.g., fentanyl testing strips, sterile supplies, socks, underwear) to those still struggling with drug use as well as to those who may be interested in being trained to use these items to help a loved one. Once he engages an individual, he works with them on a wellness plan and connects them to resources within the community, up to and including treatment.

As a graduate of Odyssey House’s ElderCare program, Mr. Robinson is uniquely qualified to serve in this role. He is highly motivated to spread the message of recovery within the community and can speak about his treatment experience with passion and understanding. His work as a volunteer peer recovery coach at the Odyssey House Recovery Center and a mentor for our Run for Your Life Marathon team gave him valuable knowledge in engaging with the community.

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