Manitoba has launched a new initiative to improve neighbourhood safety by offering intensive,
co-ordinated, community-based services to help prevent individuals and families from falling into crises and involvement with the law, Premier Greg Selinger announced today.
“When people and families need urgent support, the lines between government departments, community agencies and other service providers don’t matter,” said the premier. “Our goal is to offer seamless, integrated service to people in the community when they need it most and ultimately improve neighbourhood safety. This is an important resource for the health and well-being of families and children who may be at risk.”
Service providers, both governmental and non-governmental, established in the community will assist and support individuals or families who are at acutely elevated risk of harming themselves or others and require supports beyond what one agency can provide, the premier said. The provincial government has committed $600,000 over three years to the project which will run in a 21-block neighbourhood within the William Whyte area of Winnipeg to support the development of a healthier community, he added.
Provincial departments, the Winnipeg Police Service, child and family services, and community agencies, will work together to break down any existing barriers, to develop an immediate action plan and offer urgent services.
There are many service providers in the area who know the community well and will be key partners in this project, the premier said.
“This initiative is foundational to building community capacity in working to create a culture of safety, tackling the root cause of crime in our community,” said Winnipeg Police Chief Devon Clunis.
“There is a strong network of agencies in the neighbourhood who have a long history of working together to meet the needs of our families,” said Diane Roussin, executive director, Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre. “We are united in our commitment to creating community safety and well-being. We are eager to work with all our partners to develop local, strength-based solutions that simultaneously build the capacity of the community and address the many systemic barriers our families encounter every day.”
The premier noted if the Block by Block initiative identifies barriers to accessing services, the province will review program guidelines and rules to see if they can be improved and offer more comprehensive services to Manitobans.
“Today, the province is investing in a new approach to community safety with focused, early intervention for people before they reach a crisis,” he said. “We believe this will help break the cycle of violence and crime, with the goal of reducing violent crime in this community by 25 per cent.”
The intensive, community-based approach used in this pilot project is based on a successful model used in Prince Albert, Sask., which has resulted in significant reductions in calls to police, violent crimes and youth victimization. The project will be evaluated to determine if it should expand to other areas in Manitoba.