New Kelowna program aims to get help to people at risk | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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New Kelowna program aims to get help to people at risk

Norm Taylor (left) and Brent Kalinowski of Global Network for Community Safety spoke to members of the new Kelowna Outreach and Support Table on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019.
March 01, 2019 - 12:24 PM

KELOWNA - A new approach to dealing with people at risk of going to jail or ending up in hospital was launched in Kelowna this week.

Billed as the “HUB” model by former Kelowna RCMP Supt. Bill McKinnon in his report on crime to city council in December, it’s an effort to have people from different agencies assess the needs of vulnerable people and divert them to agencies where they can get the help they need.

Called the Kelowna Outreach and Support Table, or KOaST, it held its first “Situation Table” earlier this week, and dealt with four cases and drafted plans for those individuals, according to an RCMP news release issued today, March 1.

“Our partners are already extremely collaborative and committed to helping our community,” co-chair RCMP Cpl. Carrie Seale said in the release. “Now we can be proactive in identifying those experiencing acutely elevated risk and reaching them sooner to prevent the need for a future emergency response.”

The model was originally developed in Saskatchewan in 2011 and has since expanded across the country, including to Penticton.

Representatives from law enforcement, community corrections, public health, housing, social services, income assistance, public education, youth justice and the city are on the committee, which will meet regularly after having gone through training.

"We all have the same goals of keeping people safe,” Lance Kayfish, City of Kelowna Community Safety Director, said in the release. “We are aligned better than ever to focus our collective energy into helping our residents most at risk when they need it most.”

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