In response to a number of concerning issues in our City, the Timmins Police Service, the Canadian Mental Health Association, and Living Space are all focusing their efforts on street outreach programs as part of their risk response.

“Our community is dealing with a number of troubling issues that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis, namely that growing segments of the population are dealing with personal trauma by turning to homelessness, criminal activity, and addictions,” said Mayor Pirie. “We have been hearing the concerns of our residents who are either afraid of what they are seeing in our community or are frustrated with the situation. A boots on the ground approach is desperately needed in our city.”

Chief Gauthier of the Timmins Police Service stated, “The Timmins Police Service continues to conduct foot patrol and will be moving forward with a more aggressive and proactive approach to dealing with street crime and the distribution and possession of opioids.” Additionally, he reports that discussions are underway to develop new partnerships with various stakeholders within the community in an effort to ensure people in crisis have access to mental health and addictions expertise during a call for service.
Living Space staff can also be seen in the downtown core with their recognizable red vests. “Our outreach workers are doing a wide variety of tasks,” said Executive Director Jason Sereda. “We are responding to and completing safety checks on people in crisis, as well as safely picking up needles and assisting formerly homeless individuals maintain stable housing.”

The Cochrane-Timiskaming Canadian Mental Health Association has also started deploying staff into the downtown core to do street outreach services. Executive Director Paul Jalbert explained that, “The CMHA is refocusing our services on supporting those who are homeless through a housing first approach to ensure housing stability, connection to primary care and food security. As well, we are working on expanding access to psychiatric care.”

Planning for risk intervention involves multiple sectors working together to address situations where there is an elevated risk of harm - stopping something bad from happening, right before it is about to happen. Risk intervention is intended to be immediate and prevent an incident, whether it is a crime, victimization or harm, from occurring, while reducing the need for, and systemic reliance on, incident response and will be a key component in the City of Timmins’ Community Safety and Well-being plan. Collaboration and information sharing between agencies on things such as street outreach are typical risk response strategies and are expected to result in reduced levels of crime and crisis response incidents.

Posted by Lisa Greer On 9/9/2020 at 2:13 PM  

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