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City employees connect vulnerable people with health and social services

This Sunday, two new City employees (whose names and identities are not being publicized) will begin their first shifts, in newly created positions, to help the City’s most vulnerable population. The positions will be based at the City’s Community Safety Hub downtown (pictured). City of Prince George photo

This Sunday, two new city employees will begin their first shifts, in newly-created positions, to help the city’s most vulnerable population.

The city’s outreach coordinators are responsible for connecting the unsheltered homeless with health and social services, including safe and supported housing. The staff will work closely with bylaw services officers and representatives from other service providers associated with the city’s award-winning Community Safety Hub, which opened in April.

“The City of Prince George continues to demonstrate leadership and responsiveness as one of the only BC communities outside of Vancouver to have its own staff dedicated to connecting the homeless population with health and social services,” said Chris Bone, Senior Manager of Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships, in a news release. “The goal is to build positive relationships with unsheltered homeless people and to compliment and provide balance to the work of bylaw and protective services.”

Since October 12, the outreach staff have been completing orientation for their new roles. This includes meeting with agency staff as well as job shadowing with community-based outreach staff and bylaw services. The outreach coordinators will also meet with downtown businesses and agencies to introduce themselves.

Once the orientation and training program is complete, the staff will begin their regular shift rotations on Sunday, October 24. Working out of the City of Prince George’s Community Safety Hub in downtown Prince George, the two staff members will work shifts that ensure both early morning and late evening coverage, seven days per week, while having overlapping schedules to allow time to work collaboratively.

The positions are part of a one-year pilot project funded by a federal and provincial government grant from the Union of BC Municipalities’ Strengthening Communities Services Program.

“The positions won’t just be regularly connecting with vulnerable people, they will be working with them and advocating for them,” said Bone. “The city is working to supplement the outstanding work of existing agencies and to contribute to integrated and coordinated service delivery system.”

Earlier this month, BC Housing and the Attorney General and Ministry Responsible for Housing announced that the province, through BC Housing, is leasing the Knights Inn in downtown Prince George to provide 44 supportive homes for the city’s unsheltered homeless population.

For further information about city initiatives and partnerships relating to social health and well-being in Prince George, please visit www.princegeorge.ca/socialhealth.

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