Alberta Mirror

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Edmonton police expanding social services program after the thriving first year

Alberta

Key takeaways: 

  • ‘The numerals show it’s working,’ says Kris Knutson of The Mustard Seed.
  • Edmonton police chief Dale McFee celebrated the results of a social services referral program at an Edmonton Police Commission meeting on Thursday.

Edmonton police plan to develop a program attempting to facilitate social chaos and offense by referring marginalized individuals to a network of social services.

Since January 2021, the Human-Centred Engagement & Liaison Partnership (HELP) has been attempting to control offense cycles by managing its root reasons, like poverty, addiction, homelessness, and mental illness.

Working out of a building in the Central McDougall community, police officers and teams from numerous social agencies unite to help program participants find accommodation, psychological treatment, medication, and ID cards. 

The $3.3-million program also has a “Crown diversion” element, making it easier for people to access services by settling their outstanding criminal cases as fast as possible.

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Edmonton police plan to develop a program attempting to facilitate social chaos and offense by referring marginalized individuals to a network of social services

During a display to the Edmonton Police Commission on Thursday afternoon, EPS members said almost 900 people were referred to services during the program’s first year. 

Strategic business brains analyst Katherine Hancock said that before becoming concerned in the program, those people generated almost 4,000 of what police call “disorder indicator breaches,” including criminal infractions, non-criminal events, and petty offenses often associated with individuals undergoing homelessness.

After joining the HELP program, participants’ average number of monthly police connections was reduced by almost a third. The declines were more surprising for people with very high police involvement before the program. “The numbers show it’s working,” stated Kris Knutson, director of programs at The Mustard Seed. 

Boyle Street Community Services, the George Spady Society, the Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society, the Boyle McCauley Health Centre, and the Native Counselling Services of Alberta are partners in the program.

Source – cbc.ca

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