WINDSOR, ONT. -- W.E. Trans Support received a big boost from community partners allowing the organization to enhance programs to help ease the impact of COVID-19 on the people it serves.

The organization announced Monday the launch of its Harm Reduction Chemical Dependency Program which is funded by the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund through United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County.

W.E. Trans Support also announced funding from the WindsorEssex Community Foundation to help fund its LGBTQIA2S Mental Health Wellness and Support Program as well as support from its emergenyc response fund to help W.E. Trans Support increase counselling services.

“At a time that seems so uncertain and the effects of isolation are prevalent, we have worked hard with community partners to create and mobilize programming that will meet our clients’ needs, from enhanced counselling services, mental health and wellness programs, to an all new harm reduction based outpatient addictions program,” W.E. Trans Support executive director Jayce Carver said in an email.

The organization received $61,000 from the United Way toward its harm reduction and chemical dependency program which will allow W.E. Trans Support to provide around 25 hours of in-person counselling and groups for 36 weeks. This would provide up to 740 service interactions, the organization says. Community Outreach will also support these clients.

“The transgender community faces disproportionally high rates of addiction compared to the general population and often faces barriers to accessing addiction services that are accessible and affirming of their gender identity,” a news release from W.E. Trans support stated. “The current COVID-19 pandemic has led to increased social isolation and a decrease in access to addiction services in the community.”

Some treatment options will include, virtual harm reduction, therapeutic group sessions, outreach support and coordination yoga and mindfulness programming and peer support.

WindsorEssex Community Foundation provided $10,845 to the LGBTQIA2S Mental Health Wellness and Support Program to coordinate outreach programs and the technology to reach individuals outside of the own local community.

“During the current COVID-19 pandemic, the disproportionately high rates of depression, anxiety, suicidality, addiction and social isolation faced by the transgender community arefurther exacerbated by increased isolation and a decrease in access to mental health and addiction services,” the release stated.

A boost from the WindsorEssex Community Foundation emergency response fund also will allow for nine additional counselling hours for 16 weeks or about 144 additional sessions during the pandemic.