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Community Safety and Well-Being plan a ‘call to action’

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Four priorities, 15 strategies and 52 action items.  

That is what is included in the draft of North Bay’s Community Safety and Well-Being Plan. 

The District of Nipissing Social Services Administration Board (DNSSAB) was tasked with developing the plan, with extensive reviews, consultations, focus groups, research and asset management exercises undertaken.  

“Addictions, Mental Health, Housing and Homelessness really surfaced as the top themes or what we’ll call the priority risk factors in the language of the Safety and Wellness plan,” says David Plumstead, Manager of Planning, Outcomes and Analytics at the DNSSAB. “Which really spoke to the increasing need for more programming and services across those areas and access which includes 24/7 support and more access in the community outside of a clinical or hospital setting.” 

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He also says there was a lot of mention of affordable and transitional housing in the literature, too.

Those themes tie directly into the four priorities of the plan.

They include: 

  • Service Network
  • Addictions
  • Homelessness
  • Mental Health

Plumstead says the plan is a living document that will evolve over time, with an advocacy piece.  

“I think this is more about a call to action and getting the collective impact and the collective will of that service network and the community together and trying to start moving on some of these,” he says.  

Each priority has a set of specific outcomes and measures.

Some of the 15 strategies include: increasing community education and awareness; enhancing addiction prevention and treatment programs, supports, and services; increasing the supply of transitional, supportive and affordable housing units to meet the demand; and increasing psychiatric and primary care services. 

There are also specific strategies like expanding the Mobile Crisis Service, creating a nursing street outreach program and creating an enhanced needle program. 

Action items in the plan contain timelines (short-term, or within the plan’s first year, and medium-term, or 1-3 years), deliverables and partners required. 

Four background studies were used to help develop the plan. 

A staff report says, “Significant and broad surveys and community consultation was undertaken in the development of the background reports, which form the foundation for the Plan.” 

Included was a survey of 3,000 people who live or work in North Bay. 

The report shows 83.7% of survey respondents noted that they have felt unsafe in North Bay. 

In terms of feeling unsafe, nearly 90% of respondents have felt unsafe downtown.

The city’s Community Services Committee is recommending that Council adopt the Community Safety and Well-Being Plan. 

As legislated by the province, Council must adopt the plan before July 1st. 

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