People in the South Okanagan who are at risk of harm or victimization will benefit from a $30,000 grant to create a community-based team of front-line workers to deliver better, faster access to services.
“We want to see all people, particularly those who are vulnerable and high risk, receive the right support and services they need, when they need them,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “By investing in creating these teams in communities throughout the province, we’re helping front-line workers rapidly connect with people in crisis, while freeing up police to focus on serious and organized criminal activity.”
The teams, known as “situation tables,” are made up of representatives from health, public safety and social service agencies. They proactively identify vulnerable individuals or families who have a significant probability of criminal offending or experiencing harm or victimization, and rapidly connect them to services before they experience a negative or traumatic event.
Funding is provided by the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General’s Office of Crime Reduction and Gang Outreach. The office has invested more than $1.1 million since 2017 to develop new tables or enhance existing ones, with another $240,000 to provide funding to seven more communities this year.
There are currently 10 situation tables operating in B.C., with work underway on 11 more.
Martin Johansen, mayor, Town of Oliver –
“Part of my motivation in running for Oliver’s mayor in 2018 was to look at solutions to crime prevention. Often the root of crime problems is found in addiction and mental health issues. The situation table will consist of a team of social service and first responder professionals working closely together to identify those at elevated risk. The key to making a long lasting, positive difference is to connect those individuals, in a timely manner, with the appropriate social support services and housing options. The towns of Oliver and Osoyoos, rural areas A and C, and Osoyoos Indian Band will benefit immensely through the establishment of the South Okanagan situation table. On behalf of all local governments, I extend a sincere thank you to the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General in providing supportive funding to launch this important program.”
Roly Russell, MLA for Boundary-Similkameen –
“We all want the emergency response to get people connected to the help they actually need, and we want those responders to be doing what they are best at. This new community-based team in Oliver will reduce demand for police resources and improve the ability to get the right care to the person in need.”
Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions –
“To better connect vulnerable people with the services that can prevent crisis, crime and disorder, situation tables problem solve one case at a time, so at-risk individuals get the help they need. In 2019, 54% of situation table cases were transferred from police to social services, so police could focus on criminals instead.”