Cultivating Culture, Community and Care

The Peers Victoria Resources Society, a grassroots agency in Victoria, supports the Indigenous-led QomQem Coastal Connections program.

Together, the groups run a Drop-In Centre that offers cultural programming, food from a local Songhees cook, Elder visits and cultural education delivered by local knowledge keepers. Persons with current and former histories in the sex industry access this centre for access to social groups, housing workers, health workers and other health supports, hot lunch and beverages, a clothing room, social support for harm reduction, and safer sex supplies.

Recognizing that about 30-40% of those accessing the program identify as Indigenous, the Indigenous Reconciliation Fund (IRF) stepped in with funding support, as Peers and QomQem faced challenges in sustaining this vital work.

The IRF funding also supported food delivery by QomQem at their cultural tent that delivers outreach support to persons living outside, recognizing the critical role outreach activities play in connecting people to the programs offered at the drop-in centre. 

This initiative reconnects Indigenous persons currently or formerly involved in the sex industry and displaced Indigenous individuals with their culture through spiritual care, Elder healing, traditional foods and other supports. It aids healing, fostering a sense of belonging and community rebuilding through shared meals and cultural and spiritual care.

About Peers Victoria and QomQem Coastal Connections:

Peers Victoria is a multi-service grassroots agency established by, with, and for sex workers in 1995. They have been providing outreach, harm reduction and education services for people in the sex industry, in Victoria and on Vancouver Island.

QomQem is a grassroots Indigenous-led outreach program developed in partnership with Peers Victoria Resources Society, with an all-Indigenous team of outreach workers and peer workers with lived experience, offering harm reduction and health care services to Indigenous peoples who are unhoused, precariously housed, and who may be using substances and/or alcohol.

Visit the Peers Victoria website at https://www.safersexwork.ca/ and the QomQem website at https://qomqem.com/

Diocese of Victoria