Help is here: Windsor Halfway House Helps People With Addiction Faucet Services

Support is available: That was the underlying message of a workshop Thursday at Hand in Hand Support, a halfway house in Windsor for people struggling with substance abuse.

Dozens of residents of the home gathered to discuss the trauma and stigma surrounding drug addiction. They also had the opportunity to build bridges with agencies they can turn to for help, and who were at the workshop.

“Recovery is a big problem. Drug addiction is a big problem in this city,” said Dylan MacDonald, a resident of the house for two weeks. He has been recovering for over 10 years.

Dylan MacDonald has been recovering for years. Now he uses his acting experience to help other residents of Hand in Hand Support in Windsor, Ont. (Katerina Georgieva / CBC)

“All you have to do is drive down Ouellette [Avenue] to see how Windsor has changed over the past 10 years. And having these organizations here … really means a lot to me personally, and it means a lot to everyone here. “

Among those present were representatives of:

  • Sophrosyne’s house (a treatment center).
  • Carrefour (personal empowerment center for dependent people).
  • RE / ACT Windsor (a recovery education center).
  • The Aegis Health Group (an outpatient drug treatment center).
  • Windsor Police Service.


The morning began with a dramatic script played by MacDonald, who has years of film and theater experience, depicting a blackout, while being careful not to trigger anyone. The hope was that it would be cathartic for viewers.

Rob Sandwith, co-founder of Hand in Hand Support, speaks during the presentation part of the workshop on Thursday. (Katerina Georgieva / CBC)

It was just one scene, but one that resonated with many residents as something they experienced themselves.

“That’s kind of what happened to me,” said Tanner Harrett, who has lived at Hand in Hand for about two months.

He remembered going through a similar depression before realizing he needed help. After an overdose, he knew he needed a support system.

“I just didn’t want to die.”

Help everything in one place

After the dramatic staging, residents were directed to the various organizations available to speak to them.

Matthew Peters came to Windsor from the Toronto area to get help from Hand in Hand Support, and said it was beneficial to be able to meet with local organizations. (Katerina Georgieva / CBC)

“This is what we need,” said Harrett.

“There must be more places like this for people on the streets who have everything in one place, and just to have the support and know that there are people behind you, because our families don’t know what to do anymore. “

For a newcomer to Windsor like resident Matthew Peters, having the organizations in one place was invaluable.

“I know some people can be a little reluctant to really expose themselves and try to introduce themselves to these groups,” said Peters.

“But once you start talking to them, you realize that there is no fault in trying to meet someone new when it comes to building a foundation for recovery.”

Make connections

Shelly Wilson, Peer Support Coordinator at House of Sophrosyne, understands the value of organizations reaching directly to those who need help in one place.

“If you don’t do these community things, what do you do? ” she said.

“Even though they’ve heard from you, they might just need to meet with you to have that connection and make that call. “

A number of organizations made themselves available to Hand in Hand residents during the workshop, including House of Sophrosyne and Aegis Health Group. (Katerina Georgieva / CBC)

Rob Sandwith, co-founder of Hand in Hand Support, says the day was a success.

“I’m excited. I think it has inspired some people and at the very least it has raised awareness of what is already happening in the community,” he said.

“We want to be part of the solution.”

The Aegis Health Group, an outpatient addiction treatment center, distributed naloxone kits during the workshop and trained people in the use of the drug, which can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. (Katerina Georgieva / CBC)

Sandwith said there are plans to hold more workshops connecting halfway house residents with local organizations, as well as drama workshops led by MacDonald.

MacDonald said he was grateful for the opportunity to use his acting experience to help keep his peers sober.

He is also grateful for what Hand in Hand has already done for him.

Without these supports, “I would very probably be dead”.

Robert Sandwith, co-founder of Hand in Hand Support, says the workshop was a success and allowed residents to connect with local organizations who want to help them. (Katerina Georgieva / CBC)

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