Forward Together's Health and Addictions Response Team

Profile picture for Mark Hosak
Mark Hosak

The Health and Addictions Response Team (HART) is a new in-house, mobile frontline wellness service which will enable residents and businesses to call 311 to dispatch specialized teams to compassionately assist those in difficulty.


  • The Vancouver Police Department currently receives approximately 700 calls for service every day, the vast majority of which are not related to criminal offences
  • The Vancouver Fire and Rescue Service is the busiest fire department in Canada, with increased call volumes attributable to the poisoned drug crisis
  • Response teams exist in other cities across the U.S. – including the CAHOOTS program in Eugene, Oregon – and have been shown to save lives and dramatically reduce costs

How HART works:

  • Members of the public will call 311 to report non-emergency interactions with those in difficulty
  • HART team members will be dispatched to provide immediate counselling and direct assistance
  • HART will connect people to social, housing, health, and drug treatment services
  • HART team members will be unarmed and will de-escalate situations and provide care using a culturally-informed, gender-informed, and trauma-informed approach
  • HART team will work with existing community peer programs to build trust and connect those in need with existing provincial and non-profit support programs
  • Existing 911 services will only be called by the HART team when absolutely necessary
  • Initial team of 25 members, equipment and support will be funded with $5 million in the 2023 budget, from of the existing overdose crisis contingency reserve fund established in 2017

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Executive Director of Forward Together with Kennedy Stewart.