A Windsor-Essex outreach team has received permanent funding to continue its work in supporting residents facing homelessness as well as mental health and addictions issues.

Officials announced Tuesday that Mobile Outreach and Support Team (MOST) will no longer be just a demo project.

The Ministry of Health through the Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network has committed to continuing MOST and will work with the partnered organizations to finalize details over the next few months.

Windsor mayor Drew Dilkens says MOST has been a step forward in continuing to address the mental health and addictions supports offered in Windsor-Essex.

"MOST has filled gaps by providing services during off-hours and continues to show what can be accomplished through partnership - a direction both our City and current provincial health system is strongly committed to," says Dilkens.

It was intended to be a demonstration project that began in January 2019.

MOST was the product of collaborative problem solving by Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, Family Services Windsor-Essex, Canadian Mental Health Association Windsor Essex County Branch, Assisted Living Southwestern Ontario and the City of Windsor.

The initial team has been comprised of a social worker, outreach worker and personal support worker who travel to downtown and west-end locations five evenings a week connecting with this vulnerable population.

"Working on the MOST Van has been a seamless transition and extension of outreach services,” says MOST outreach worker Adrienne Payne. “It has provided us with the ability to connect with individuals after hours that outreach may not have been able to connect with during regular 830 to 430 work hours."

Payne says they are really building that sense of comfort and trust in the community.

In a three-month report dating from its launch on Jan. 31 to April 30, the team recorded 849 visits. Of these visits, 94 per cent were given supplies and 57 per cent were supported referrals.

74 per cent of these visits were from men.

Although MOST will continue past its initial July 31 demonstration end- date, HDGH's Research and Evaluation Team will complete its commitment to a final six-month evaluation report, expected to be completed this fall.

A young woman who lives in recovery from years struggling with homelessness and mental health and addiction related issues spoke at Tuesday’s event.

Breanna Pomeroy is not a client of MOST, but was at Tuesday's announcement with her two-month old daughter as a reminder of her changed life.

"I was once among the vulnerable members of our community that MOST currently helps. Today, I am working on my recovery," said Pomeroy. "MOST is doing an amazing job at implementing a productive approach. It is very important that our at-risk community see members of support teams and peers coming to them, rather than having to always seek out the help."

The MOST funding announcement comes at the same time as the Windsor Essex Community Health Centre announces plans to launch its mobile medical clinic.

Officials say partners will continue to work together to ensure services are jointly coordinated and do not overlap.