Trail Times file photo

Trail task force receives funds for harm reduction, wellness

$7,200 provincial grant comes from the Community Action Initiative

The City of Trail, in collaboration with the Community Safety Task Force and Interior Health (IH), has received a $7,200 Community Wellness and Harm Reduction Grant from the BC government through its Community Action Initiative (CAI).

The CAI mandates support for community-led projects which focus on mental health and substance use issues in British Columbia.

On the local front, IH will lead the delivery of a planned initiative in conjunction with the task force, and will use the funding to “enhance local programming that focuses on community safety education in the areas of increasing compassion and reducing the stigma for community members with substance use disorders.”

“We are very appreciative of this grant funding,” said Mayor Lisa Pasin.

“The task force has been working hard to develop engaging and meaningful community programs and campaigns to provide education in harm reduction, stigma and discrimination awareness, overdose prevention, and sharps management,” she said.

“Now that the funding is in place, the IH and Community Safety Task Force will meet to discuss future plans as part of developing and delivering the programs to the community.”

Trail first launched the city’s Community Safety Task Force one year ago.

Sitting at the table is a group of multidisciplinary individuals, including frontline workers in the Trail area such as social workers and the RCMP, to help manage safety and security as a high priority.

This committee provides input to council on matters impacting community safety and on strategies to prevent and reduce crime in the community.

Within their mandate, the committee has eight key functions.

Those are: to provide advice and recommendations to council on strategies to enhance public safety and to prevent and reduce crime in the community; to identify and examine issues impacting community safety, including homelessness, vagrancy, theft, vandalism, mental health and drug‐related activities; to identify root causes and contributing factors to identified social issues; to provide a conduit for citizens to raise issues and concerns regarding community safety; to encourage the development and delivery of education programs to raise awareness of community safety issues and the availability of resources; to advise on strategies to address the negative impacts of real and perceived social issues locally; to identify resources available and supports necessary to assist vulnerable populations; and to identify ways to implement crime reduction techniques in high‐risk areas.

After hiring a professional consultant and hosting a public session in Trail last fall, the task force came up with a “Community Safety Action Chart.”

Immediate efforts on the “chart,” which is essentially a guide for short term actions to be taken by the city, focuses on specifics such as beefing up measures to dispose of illicit drug paraphernalia like used needles, improving lighting in downtown Trail, and possibly introducing a RCMP bike patrol in 2020.

As well, are esoteric recommendations like quarterly meetings to connect frontline agencies, and backing campaigns that raise public awareness on “mental health first aid.

“My experience on the task force has been one of education … and I absolutely think it’s worthwhile,” committee chair Coun. Sandy Santori said previously.

“It’s given us an opportunity to identify intervention programs that we can initiate and it has given us the opportunity to meet all of the other partners and to have a better understanding of the role IH plays,” he added.

“There is a lot more communication amongst the agencies … and now we can start working on collaborative strategies so that we can capture people that need help and refer them to the appropriate places.”

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