Streetworks started out in 1989 and was called Needleworks back then. About 8 city agencies, including AADAC, Edmonton Police Service and the Medical Officer of Health got together to talk about HIV in the injection drug using and sex trade community. They also wanted to talk about the how HIV was having an affect on the whole community. Over the years, outreach staff at the program noticed lots of health problems affecting people injecting and working in the sex trade, and in 1995, nurses joined the team. The program also changed its name from Needleworks to Streetworks. It was pretty clear that the people coming to the program were asking for lots of different kinds of services and had lots of health needs. The program keeps on growing and working with the community to meet these needs.
Streetworks is based on important philosophies like Harm Reduction, Health Promotion, and Primary Health Care. Building strengths, outreach, relationship-based work, decreasing barriers and advocacy are paramount in meeting the goals of the program.