Working Groups and Projects
Much of the work on priorities of the Toronto HIV/AIDS Network (THN) is undertaken through several Working Groups and Projects which engage both organizational and individual participants. The Steering Committee monitors progress and initiates new activities as resources allow. All are supported by two part-time positions, a Project Manager and a Peer Coordinator, housed at the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation.
Note: participant agencies may vary from the lists provided on the Working Group and Project pages.
- Information & Access
- Employment, Occupation & Income Security
- Opening Doors Toronto
Information And Access Working Group (IAWG)
IAWG focuses upon the priority to develop an accessible, coordinated HIV/AIDS service information system. To date, the IAWG advised on two key strategies that have been developed to facilitate access to information on services:
- ASO411 is an interactive mapping system that provides access to up-to-date information about HIV related services offered at AIDS Service Organizations (ASOs) and other organizations.
- The HIV/AIDS Community Calendar, a monthly calendar of programs and events for people living with HIV/AIDS in Toronto, administered by the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT).
See the IAWB webpage for more details.
Housing Working Group
The Housing Working Group focuses upon the priority to improve access to a range of affordable and appropriate housing for people living with HIV/AIDS. The Housing Working Group explores and supports the development of innovative service models including the development of the Service Coordination Program for Homeless PHAs, now an ongoing program of McEwan Housing and Support Services, (LOFT Community Services.)
The Housing Working Group went on to identify its next priority as housing and service issues facing people living with HIV, who are aging, and have complex care needs that may include cognitive impairment. A Community Roundtable on HIV, Housing, Aging, Complex Care & Cognitive Issues was held on June 22, 2011. For more information see the Roundtable report. In addition, issues on the complex needs faced by homeless people with HIV/AIDS are brought to the planning for the annual Opening Doors Forum in Toronto and to discussions with the City of Toronto's Streets to Homes program.
See the housing working group webpage for more details.
Diversity Project Working Group
The Diversity Project's aim is to address the following THN strategic priority:
"Enhance the capacity of HIV/AIDS-specific programs and services to serve more diverse communities across Toronto"
The Steering Committee undertook a process of consultation and discussion with its Members to determine what role THN, as a network, could play to support the efforts of its Members. A Report and Recommendations were developed. Recommendations and an Action Plan (2012-2014) have been approved through discussions at Members' Meetings. A Diversity Working Group begins meeting September 2012 to move the Action Plan forward with updates and consultation to follow at Fall and Spring Members' Meetings.
See the Diversity Project working group webpage for more details.
Employment, Occupation and Income Security (EOI) Working Group
EOI is focused on the priority of income and employment-related needs of people living with HIV/AIDS. The Group exchanges information about issues and services and is exploring opportunities to contribute to these issues in Toronto while connecting with strategies active at other levels. Initially they focused upon a Toronto specific issue affecting volunteers on ODSP.
See the EOI working group webpage for more details.
PHA Capacity Building
A PHA Capacity Building Forum was held in November 2007 in partnership with the Committee for Accessible AIDS Treatment (CAAT). The Forum shared best practices to improve planning and coordination to work on the priority to meet self identified training needs of PHAs. It was followed by a guide to "PHA Training Programs: Toronto" (March 2008) which was updated in 2010. The Forum's results were a catalyst to form a THN Working Group in August 2008 on Accreditation and Coordination (of PHA capacity building programs). The Working Group aimed to strengthen recognition and coordination of PHA related training programs to increase meaningful involvement of People Living with HIV/AIDS. In 2009 two projects were initiated by the Working Group:
PHA Learning Partnership
The PHA Learning Partnership is a PHA-centered website near completion. The website provides a single point of access for persons living with HIV/AIDS (PHAs) to self manage information on multiple PHA training programs and to access information on capacity building opportunities.
The initial development of the web portal is being undertaken by a partnership of AIDS Bereavement and Resiliency Program of Ontario (ABRPO), African & Caribbean Council on HIV/AIDS in Ontario (ACCHO), Committee for Accessible AIDS Treatment (CAAT), Ethnoracial Treatment Support Network (ETSN), Ontario AIDS Network (OAN), Ontario HIV Treatment Network (OHTN); and the Toronto HIV/AIDS Network (THN) providing coordination support.
Volunteer Core Skills HIV Training Project
The Volunteer Core Skills HIV Training Project is engaged in developmental work towards building coordinated and inclusive volunteer training modules to support the AIDS Service Organization (ASO) need for volunteers AND capacity building needs of PHA volunteers and other volunteers. With the help of an Advisory Committee of Volunteer Coordinators, THN has so far undertaken a scan of core skills HIV Volunteer Training in Toronto and conducted a consultation with volunteer coordinators, program coordinators and volunteers.
Opening Doors Toronto
Opening Doors Toronto is an annual forum for dialogue amongst service providers and people living with HIV/AIDS on frontline support and counselling issues, funded regionally across Ontario by the AIDS Bureau, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
A Working Group to recommend how to improve the responsiveness to PHAs by the broader health and social services sector has had an initial meeting. The next step is identifying gaps in training for AIDS Service Organizations and broader health and social service agencies who are important to the well-being of people living with and at risk of HIV/AIDS.