May 31, 2023
Community Harm Reduction – LITTLE THINGS that make a BIG DIFFERENCE!
Staff Profile – Hau Tran
Hau Tran started working at Dixon Hall in May, 2021, as part of the Harm Reduction Community Care Project, a partnership led by PASAN with Regent Park Community Health Centre, Streethealth and Dixon Hall. The Project is funded by the City of Toronto Downtown East Strategy to clean up discarded harm reduction supplies in Downtown East Toronto, continuing to be dependent on yearly funding by the City.
Hau’s role has been to work 2 to 3 hours at a time carefully searching areas for discarded harm reduction supplies with the goal of disposing of them safely. The role requires a keen eye, a meticulous approach, and consistent adherence to safety protocols. The area he works in is the Downtown East Toronto (borders from Bay St. to Parliament St.; Bloor St. to Gerrard St.) His stats are impressively high, as he collects on average 764 items per week. Over the years, he has identified hot spots, areas in which there are high numbers of harmful items, and Hau searches and reports on these areas regularly. The impact of this work is to address public safety for needle stick injuries and to reduce HIV, Hep C, and other diseases. Outcomes? Residents at 200 Wellesley St. E. used to complain about used needles (‘sharps’). No longer, thanks to Hau. That’s only one example.
He is a diligent worker and is extremely concerned about the public safety of people, especially children, and attends regularly at Rose Ave and Winchester Public Shool and does a sweep. He is super dedicated and really wants to keep the neighbourhood safe and understands the reality of genuine harm to the public, given that historically he has been a drug user himself. Even though he doesn’t speak English well, he also helps people however he can, and he even helped someone who had ID stolen in Allen Gardens. He also volunteers for Dixon Hall food programs and special events and supports these with cleaning and odd jobs.
Hau has a huge heart and making a real difference towards community harm reduction gives him a sense of purpose, as he makes a very important contribution by helping children and youth stay safe, promoting public health, even saving lives! He’s yet another fine example of Dixon Hall workers on the front line helping to create a city where everyone thrives.