There a just a few more hours left in 2013. Like many people, HIPS is taking some time to review our accomplishments and prepare for the year to come. If you haven't yet - I hope you'll take the few minutes and make a end of the year donation to help us in achieving our goals for 2014. It doesn't matter if you can give $20 or $200. But we hope that you'll join us in making DC a safer and healthier community.
In 2013, HIPS created change. Not just in our client's individual lives, but in the lives of the community. In collaboration with our allies we helped the DC Police Department clarify their policy and stop the use of condoms as evidence of prostitution. We helped over 800 people know their HIV and Hepatitis C status. We facilitated the proper disposal of over 150,000 used syringes - preventing them from being discarded in our trash or on our streets where they pose a public health threat. We counseled hundreds of individuals from around the country through our 24-hour hotline on leaving abusive relationships with pimps, managers, or partners, helped sex workers who wanted to leave the life brainstorm options for legal employment and housing. We offered support and guidance in reaching goals to over 20 people a day at our drop in center.
Our year was also amazing thanks to you. We've quadrupled our mailing list and with your help we've shown that a program like HIPS can be sustained by the community. We've raised more unrestricted money for our programs this year than nearly all of our previous years combined. That is a huge accomplishment that goes to show every donation counts. Your donation counts because it helps us fund this critical work. Our hotline and crisis services are 100% funded by your donations. Every single counseling session helping people to leave the streets, address their problematic drug use, and build new lives is supported entirely by your donations. Together we are helping people heal.
Last week Canadian activists successfully challenged three anti-prostitution laws that had been brought before their Supreme Court. The laws banned street solicitation, brothels and people living off the avails of prostitution. In sum, the court decision said that the dangerous environments created by these laws were far more harmful than any benefit to the public in preventing the public nuisance of prostitution. It opened the door for a new way, a new approach to addressing this very complex issue. The decision also got me thinking about the work we do here at HIPS and the infinite possibilities of what we can accomplish when we work together.
We can build a world where, regardless of how we feel about sex work, no one is forced to do sexual exchange through economic, physical or mental coercion. A place where even the streets are safe and law enforcement collaborates with sex workers to end violence and abuse. Where drug users and their families have a safe place to go and get help to reduce the harmful consequences of their use. A world where we can stop the spread of HIV and address the health disparities faced by our city's most marginalized. A world of hope and options.
It's HIPS New Year's resolution to create that world. But we need you. I hope you'll join us.