Frontline agencies will be taking action to identify Williams Lake’s vulnerable people and collaboratively connect them to the services that they need before they experience a negative or traumatic event.
Manager of Community Safety for the City of Williams Lake, Dave Dickson said they received confirmation of $65,000 in provincial funding within the past couple of days to be able to host Situation Tables.
“It’s something that many of us have talked about and dreamed about for many years, and we were at the right place at the right time,” he said.
“The provincial government is funding it, so we’ve received the funding and we’ll have training likely in late September.”
The two-day training Dickson added is to understand how Situation Tables work as well as the processes in regards to privacy and confidentiality.
“In Williams Lake, we have a bunch of vulnerable people,” he said.
“Homelessness, affordable housing, addictions, mental health issues. Those are all issues that manifest themselves in multiple different types of ways of which one is crime; a person who has addictions and perhaps is intoxicated but is hungry and they shoplift, so the shoplifting becomes a symptom of a greater problem.”
By implementing Situation Tables, Dickson said frontline practitioners from health, social services, and public safety and RCMP would then be able to get together to talk about the situation.
“The agencies that are around the table they then would collaborate together okay how can we help this poor soul that is going through this tough time in their life or this is the issue,” he said.
“So a plan is built and we come around this person and try to help them to effect positive change. If you can give a person perhaps a roof over their head, maybe employment or education, or maybe legitimate items that give them hope and maybe they will affect and it doesn’t manifest itself through crime.”
Communities with Situation Tables include Surrey, Mission, Penticton, Chilliwack, Kelowna, Burnaby, and Hope.
Dickson said he hopes the Situation Table will be able to address their first case in October.
“I know Penticton last fall when I was invited by government to Vancouver they had done 28 cases and they meet every Tuesday morning,” he said.
“We were down in Penticton three or four weeks ago. They had four cases on the books and I believe the day that we were there they brought three new cases to the table, so we’re hoping this isn’t the end all be all, but how can we help.”