Campbell River non-profits and social services will soon have another tool to help vulnerable people in the community.
That tool is the Situation Table. The idea comes from the provincial office of crime reduction and gang outreach and involves local agencies meeting regularly to help individual community members who need a bit extra help. They can be people who visit the hospital regularly or are often dealing with RCMP. The agencies then coordinate and figure out the best way to help the individuals and break down barriers between themselves for the benefit of their clients.
“A situation table works to identify the risks present in people who live a vulnerable lifestyle. We just bring different agencies together to seek a collaborative approach,” said RCMP Sgt. Wayne Baier, one of the leads on the project. “Agencies that are at the table would bring forward people that are in crisis or having difficulties and who are using a lot of services. Like they’re constantly at the hospital for example. You look at ways to see what’s available to respond to that particular person.”
While the idea is to meet regularly, Baier said that they will likely meet when there is work to be done. That means when a particular case comes up, the table will come together to do what they can to help.
“We only meet if there’s work,” he said. “It’s designed to eventually put itself out of business. Meetings are based on need, and hopefully, eventually there’s less and less need for it.”
That being said, Baier explained that the idea has seen some success in different areas of the province, but none have been started on Vancouver Island yet. Baier and his other co-lead Leanne McIntee, KDC Health’s Mobile Outreach Coordinator, have applied for grant funding to get the idea off the ground and are looking forward to starting to meet soon.
When dealing with vulnerable people, Baier said, discretion is important. Part of the training that the grant funding will go towards will be to ensure that any personal information that gets disclosed at the meetings will stay at the meetings. These will not be public events, instead, they will be groups of people working together to help those who need it.
Part of the benefit of agencies coming together is the breaking down of walls. Baier said he has seen that agencies are willing to work together, but aren’t as connected.
“The situation table works towards breaking down those silos, bringing people who are going to help with solutions,” he said. “There’s a lot of people that have a sincere desire to make this a very livable community,” he added. “Dealing with the socially marginalized… helping them have a better life, we all benefit from that.”