Province funds 'situation table' in Oliver

·2 min read

The province is providing the Town of Oliver a $30,000 grant to create a community-based team of front-line workers to deliver better, faster access to services for those at risk of harm or victimization.

The teams, or “situation tables,” are made up of members from health, public safety and social service agencies and “proactively identify vulnerable individuals or families who have a significant probability of criminal offending or experiencing harm or victimization and connect them to services before they experience a negative or traumatic event,” states a press release from the province.

Part of the motivation for Oliver Mayor Martin Johansen running for office in 2018 was to seek solutions for crime prevention, which often find their root in addiction and mental health issues, he said.

“The situation table will consist of a team of social service and first responder professionals working closely together to identify those at elevated risk. The key to making a long lasting, positive difference is to connect those individuals, in a timely manner, with the appropriate social support services and housing options. The Towns of Oliver and Osoyoos, rural areas A and C, and Osoyoos Indian Band will benefit immensely through the establishment of the South Okanagan situation table,” Johansen said.

The funding is part of $1.1 million invested by the province since 2017 to develop situation tables or enhance existing ones, and part of $240,000 invested across seven communities this year.

Members of Oliver’s Community Safety and Crime Prevention Committee recommended Oliver town council pursue funding for the situation table after hearing of the successes of the CAST (Community Action Support Table) in Penticton which provides a similar wrap-around response to those at risk of harm. There are currently 10 situation tables operating in B.C., with work underway on 11 more.

“We all want the emergency response to get people connected to the help they actually need, and we want those responders to be doing what they are best at. This new community-based team in Oliver will reduce demand for police resources and improve the ability to get the right care to the person in need,” said Roly Russell, Boundary-Similkameen MLA in a provincial press release.

Dale Boyd, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Times-Chronicle