Creating an Outreach Team within the DVBIA is an idea that formed after seeing the positive interactions between the Community Safety Team and vulnerable populations on the street.
The team is proud to help get in touch with various resources in the catchment. Educating people about resources like housing and other support that may be available in the downtown core is one of the key ways that the Community Safety team fosters a positive relationship with vulnerable populations. Beginning a stronger focus on community outreach will ensure that the DVBIA’s Community Safety program continues to move in a positive and proactive direction.
In preparation for the pilot of the Outreach Team program, the DVBIA’s Community Safety Team leadership, along with the Outreach Ambassadors, have consulted with existing resources such as Vancouver Coastal Health, the City of Vancouver, Atira Women’s Resource Society, Covenant House, The Gathering Place, and Belkin House. The team has also sought advice from other Business Improvement Associations that have existing outreach programs.
The goal of the Outreach Ambassadors will be to work in collaboration with various agencies to provide support and resources to individuals who are experiencing homelessness. The team will work to coordinate a range of services including but not limited to specialized mental health treatment, crisis response services, general health, housing, and income support. Facilitating meals, showers, and clothing from local support services will also be a priority. The Outreach Team will also offer direct assistance such as administering first aid and providing emotional support. They will also provide safety supplies such as saline and Band-Aids.
The team will be required to go through various levels of training such as conflict de-escalation, Occupational First Aid Level 1, Mental Health First Aid, Trauma Training and Indigenous Awareness. They will also attend a course on maintaining confidentiality and protecting personal information. Outreach Ambassadors will carefully maintain the confidentiality of vulnerable populations by only soliciting the information that is relevant to getting them connected with a specific resource. The Outreach Team will not share any personal information that may be obtained during the course of their work.
By assisting people to get in touch with the resources that they need, the team will lead through compassion and respect.