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MOPS is funded for the winter!



Manitoba’s Only Overdose Prevention Site Secures Funding to Operate Through the Winter



DECEMBER 12, 2023 – WINNIPEG: The Mobile Overdose Prevention Site (MOPS) will be funded to continue operations through the winter.


MOPS is Manitoba’s first formal overdose prevention site, where people can come and use substances in a space supervised by staff who are trained in overdose response. MOPS is operated by Sunshine House, a drop-in and resource centre.


The funds to take MOPS through the winter months to March 31, 2024 comprise the following: $72,728 from an amendment to the existing agreement with Health Canada Substance Use and Addictions Program, approximately $55,000 in grassroots fundraising, and $250,000 from the Winnipeg Foundation.


“The continuation of MOPS through the winter was really a community effort,” said Levi Foy, executive director of Sunshine House. “It was our friends at the Manitoba Harm Reduction Network and Main Street Project who organized a meeting where we all sat around a table with the Winnipeg Foundation and came up with a plan.” MOPS has been operating out of a converted recreational vehicle since October 28, 2022. Five days a week, the RV is parked in the lot next to 631 Main Street, just north of Logan Avenue.

“It’s essential to have MOPS open during the winter months,” said Davey Cole, MOPS coordinator. “The risks and harms that people face when using substances outdoors are multiplied when the weather gets cold.”


“We felt like we were facing a doomsday scenario—it really seemed that we would have to shut MOPS down at the worst possible time of year,” Foy said.


“We’re relieved to know MOPS has secured funding to get through the winter months,” said Jamil Mahmood, executive director at Main Street Project. “MOPS is an essential community program that provides important harm reduction services to people who use drugs. Winnipeg is experiencing an ongoing drug toxicity crisis with many drug poisonings taking place. Ensuring people who use drugs have a place to get their drugs tested, have a safe place to use, be spotted while using in case of drug poisoning, and access information about safer drug use, especially over the winter months, is critical. Main Street Project will always do what we can to support MOPS and advocate for the program.”


“The Winnipeg Foundation is proud to support the important, life-saving work of the Mobile Overdose Prevention Site,” said Megan Tate, Vice President, Community Impact. “Our community is experiencing an addiction and overdose crisis which requires a range of supportive services including prevention, harm reduction and treatment. The Foundation provides funding to organizations working in each of these areas and recognizes the critical role MOPS plays, both in harm reduction and supporting those who wish to access addictions treatment.”


“Our approach to reducing harms as a result of substance use is comprehensive and compassionate,” said the Honourable Ya'ara Saks, Federal Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health. “We are using every tool at our disposal to build a safer, healthier and more caring future for all Canadians. We are doing this by supporting organizations like Sunshine House that have deep roots in their communities, have the trust of their clients and have the first-hand knowledge needed to make a real difference in people’s lives.”


From October 2022 through November 2023, MOPS has received over 25,000 visits and supervised over 7,600 instances of drug use. MOPS has performed drug checks—testing samples of substances to determine if they contain dangerous contaminants—391 times. MOPS also provides referrals to other needed services, including housing and addictions treatment.


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Media contact:


Jenny Henkelman

Communications Coordinator, Sunshine House

comms@sunshinehousewpg.org


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