The province of B.C. is shelling out $45,000 to help set up a Situation Table in Kitimat.
Also known as ‘hubs,’ situation tables consist of different agencies and front line workers. One was originally proposed for Kitimat in April.
The provincial Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth’s office announced the funding earlier this week and said the situation table, consisting of a community-based team of representatives from health, public safety and social service agencies, will aim to deliver better and faster access to services.
Situation tables were first introduced in B.C. in Surrey and Mission in 2015 and 2017 respectively with a goal to address community issues before they become police issues or required other emergency services.
The Office of Crime Reduction and Gang Outreach (OCR-GO) went on to establish such hubs in communities like Penticton, Chilliwack, Kelowna, Burnaby, Cariboo region and Terrace, among others.
There are currently 12 situation tables operational in B.C., with work underway on an additional nine tables.
The situation table team works to proactively identify vulnerable individuals or families who have a significant probability of criminal offending or experiencing harm or victimization, and rapidly connect them to services before they experience a negative or traumatic event, said the ministry in a statement released Aug. 18.
The majority of the $45,000 funding will be used to acquire necessary software and equipment to operate the program, as well as provide a full-suite of training for participant organizations and representatives, said Mike Dewar, director of economic development and communications for the District of Kitimat.
While explaining the need for a situation table in Kitimat, Dewar said that it had been identified that vulnerable members of the community often require support and resource services offered through variety of agencies.
“By Initiating the Situation Table program in the community, service agencies will be able to work together to provide a more robust and coordinated portfolio of services to help community members that need it,” said Dewar.
Kitimat Mayor Phil Germuth said that the district was pleased to receive funding to establish a situation table which will help connect vulnerable members of the community with the most applicable and effective resources in order to help them overcome the challenges that they are facing.
“Kitimat has always been a community that works together to support one another, and the situation table will be another great example of this,” said Germuth.
Funding is provided by the Ministry of Public Safety and OCR-GO.
OCR-GO has invested more than $1.35 million since 2017 to develop new situation tables and enhance existing ones.
As of March 2021, the ministry provided $240,000 to seven communities to create situation tables teams throughout the province.
“As we’ve seen with various situation table groups across the province, they’re an important tool to offer different resources to those at risk of crime, gangs, as well as substance abuse and homelessness,” said Mike Farnworth, public safety minister.
Farnworth also added that by investing in situation tables, the province was giving service providers the tools they need to provide rapid support to at-risk people, while also freeing police resources to focus on other duties.
Binny Paul, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Terrace Standard