Blog Archives


Check out this recent article written by Rebecca Marval, our wonderful MOSH Occupational Therapist on promoting individual and community health.

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MOSH Bike Project

Direct population-level impact can be illustrated by the MOSH bike project. The project is an elegant, occupation-based solution to an environmental lack of opportunities for transportation, physical activity, autonomy, and personal growth among inadequately- housed community members. Considering population characteristics and employing principles of learning through doing, project participants are sought out, reminded, and welcomed by a familiar face to attend a project session. There, they fix-to-own a salvaged bicycle, receive a helmet and lock, and have the opportunity to develop skills in a dynamic community setting. Attention to pragmatic and subtle sociocultural elements of engagement have made this a well-received opportunity to impact multiple determinants of health, from meeting transportation needs to opening opportunities to work or study.

Here at MOSH, we have matched over 60 people with bike/helmet/locks. Currently we are unable to continue matching bikes with people to learn skills because we do not have a space. We are only able to provide people with already-repaired bikes.

Want to help? Currently we are mostly looking for locks (which you can drop at bike pedelar dartmouth). Please contact us with any questions!
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Housing First No House

MOSH is excited to introduce the Housing First project!

Team lead EJ Davis is building a team that prioritizes our community’s most vulnerable homeless individuals.  Individuals accepted into the program receive individualized support for as long as they need. Each participant works with an intensive case manager to secure appropriate housing; then works collaboratively to develop individual goals to ensure housing stability and develop independence. MOSH Housing First provides services base on the following Housing First principles:

  • Housing is a basic human right
  • Individualized assertive engagement
  • Separation of housing and services
  • Prioritize the most vulnerable
  • Harm reduction
  • Scatter site housing
  • Client choice and self-determination
  • Recovery orientation
  • Trauma informed care
  • Person centered care
  • Stage-wise service provision (personal change)

On March 25, 2015, Mosh’s Patti Melanson was a guest panelist at Halifax Central Library. Speakers discussed the many challenges that people who are homeless, marginalised and living in chaos face as obstacles to receiving health care. Watch it here.


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A photo Essay by: Peter Graham

During the last week of November, Peter Graham accompanied the Mobile Outreach Street Health (MOSH) team as they worked throughout Halifax and Dartmouth.

MOSH is an initiative of the North End Community Health Centre in partnership with Capital Health, providing accessible primary health care services to people who are homeless, insecurely housed, street involved and underserved in our community.

On the MOSH team are full-time nurses, a part-time occupational therapist, with support from physicians at the North End Community Health Centre, and part-time administrative support.

Download a copy of Pocket MOSH, a practitioners guide to MOSH and the community they serve.

I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the MOSH team and their community partners who provided me with wholehearted support and access during the week. As well, to the many clients of MOSH who I met during my travels, who allowed me to bear witness at very vulnerable moments in their lives as they struggled for health and well being in the face of many challenges – thank you. It was a powerful reminder that no matter what our circumstances, we all want and deserve to be respected, acknowledged for who we are, and to know that someone cares for us. ~ Peter Graham

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When you’re living on the streets or in a shelter, making an appointment at a doctor’s office is pretty difficult. You don’t have a phone or a place to get messages. Furthermore, your focus is on just getting through the day. And every day is a challenge. There can be violence, hunger or harmful involvement with substances or activities. Symptoms of disease and injury can escalate, leaving you with no alternative but to rely on the emergency room.

Mosh, the mobile outreach street health program, is one way we are being the change. Instead of waiting for people to come to us, we are going to them. This health care office on wheels delivers care to the most vulnerable, underserved people in our communities, meeting them where they are, recognizing and respecting their needs, and providing the care they are entitled to. Hundreds of people with ailments as diverse as cancer, epilepsy, pneumonia and brain injuries have already been seen by the mosh team at shelters, soup kitchens, rooming houses and street outreach.

– Patti Melanson, Team Leader, MOSH

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Hanging on a wall in a busy downtown Halifax drop-in centre a poster silently asks one simple question: If you ended up in the Emergency Department and weren’t able to speak for yourself, who would you want to speak for you?

Bryon Anderson is the director of the Metro Non-Profit Housing drop-in centre. He and Monica Flinn, a nurse with Mobile Outreach Street Health (MOSH), came up with the idea of helping people living on the street or in shelters write out their personal directives.

“We are becoming more proactive now because there was a certain need and people had come to us,” he said. “What we have found that there is certainly a desire for this to happen.”

Writing a personal directive allows you to make decisions about your personal care ahead of time in case you are ever incapacitated and unable to make those decisions on your own. You can also name the person you want making decisions for you.

Anderson said this is especially important for people living on the street because they are at higher risk of illness, injury and incapacitation and they are often alone.

“Many people have friends and acquaintances and that sort of thing but no one really steps up to the plate and makes these hard decisions,” he said. “It sounds morbid, but it’s not like we’re saying ‘you’re going to die right away,’ it’s just that everybody’s going to die sometime, so it’s just, how best to die with dignity.”

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Today, the Mobile Outreach Street Health (MOSH) program announced the official launch of a mobile van service with a community celebration that took place at the Brunswick Street United Church in Halifax. The outreach van is like a ‘health office’ on wheels – providing on-the-spot care for those living on the street, homeless and underserved populations living in Halifax.

A partnership between the North End Community Health Centre, Capital Health and a number of government, business and community partners, the goal of the outreach van is to proactively take health care beyond the hospital walls and into the shelters, community centres and soup kitchens. The program provides primary health care services – from vaccinations, blood work, and chronic disease management to birth control, HIV and Hepatitis C testing – in a safe, welcoming and comfortable space.

“We’ve created an innovative and collaborative approach to delivering primary health care services to those who are sometimes underserved,” said Patti Melanson, MOSH street nurse and program collaborator. “This allows people to take on their own health care, on their own terms. More importantly it works for people who are homeless, who are on the streets and whose lives are upside down for whatever reason.”

MOSH is made up of a team of frontline health workers including local physicians, nurses and occupational therapists with a common goal of improving access to health care for those on the street. The MOSH team saw more than 80 individuals during the first week of operations and cared for more than 226 people during the month of September 2009. With the introduction of the mobile outreach van, MOSH hopes to provide even more care and services for the homeless.

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