At Monday’s City Council meeting, Administration will be asking for Council’s approval to seek out $1,138,482.46 in federal funding to begin action on addressing chronic risk in Prince Albert.
According to a report by City Planner Craig Guidinger, the City of Prince Albert was provided with an opportunity to secure more than $1.1 million in funding over four fiscal years, from 2022 to 2026, to leverage the work that has begun on the Homelessness Action Initiative, specifically Chronic Risk, through Public Safety Canada.
In the spring of 2022, the Government of Canada announced new federal support through the Public Safety Agency’s Building Safer Communities Fund, earmarked for municipalities and Indigenous governments to initiate community-led projects to combat gun and gang violence and address knowledge gaps concerning the impacts of interventions.
A proposal is being requested for the funding, with Guidinger saying that Administration is quite hopefully of its approval in full. He noted that although Public Safety Canada is allowing for some flexibility on what is proposed, the City has to stay within the set parameters of researching and developing a community framework for identifying “what works” in crime prevention.
His report states that in the past three years, drug use, mental crises, criminality, violence and homelessness have mounted in Prince Albert. In 2021, the City ranked third for violent crime by the Canadian Centre for Justice and Community Safety Statistics.
“These trends have negatively impacted the safety and security of our community members, strained emergency resources, and heightened the vulnerability of individuals and families in proximity to those showing signs of chronic risk behaviour,” said Guidinger’s report. “Complicating matters in Prince Albert is the growing rise of gangs, gang-related activity, and gun violence”.
The proposal centres around four core areas, including gathering knowledge on common risks and carriers Impacting gang/gun violence, investing in prevention/intervention of chronic risk leading to gang/gun violence, alignment of systems around a framework towards community safety and well-being, and collaborating on practical solutions for chronic risk management.
“This project will help our non-profit service organizations, police, Indigenous, and government partners build capacity and knowledge for effective solutions to chronic risk reduction in Prince Albert and area,” stated the report.
The initiative includes a plan aimed at extending activities beyond the funding period and involves ongoing consultations with partners on the value of the project to their needs, the benefits to the community, and the opportunities to sustain and expand.
Guidinger’s report said the funding application was discussed with the Mayor, the City Manager, and the Chief of Police, and was prepared with the assistance of the Living Sky Centre for Social Inquiry. If approved, Public Safety Canada will make a formal announcement notifying the City.