New pilot launching in three Vancouver neighbourhoods aims to increase connection and address community issues

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Brennagh Bailey
March 18, 2022

March 14 2022 – The Better Together: Neighbourhood Collective Action Pilot Program is coming to Mount Pleasant, Downtown South, and Olympic Village.

The pilot program aims to improve a sense of safety and connection for all residents, reduce stigma, improve access to support services for those experiencing unsheltered homelessness, and maintain cleanliness.

Better Together also seeks to enhance communication and collaboration between stakeholders to build positive relationships and address community challenges.

"Everyone deserves to feel safe in Vancouver, but we know for some people that isn't the case. Unsheltered residents in particular face many challenges and we know our community wants to respond with care, compassion, and support. That's what the Better Together pilot is about,” says Mayor Kennedy Stewart. “By proactively addressing community challenges and helping neighbours access mental health, housing, and other supports, we can make sure everyone in our community feels safe and supported."

About the program
Approved by Council on March 2, it will work with local residents, including those experiencing unsheltered homelessness, businesses, and community stakeholders to create a proactive approach to addressing community challenges.

Recognizing many circumstances are rooted in trauma associated with colonialism, racism and gender-based violence, and reinforced through the same, priority issues include those related to the impacts of mental health, poverty, and unsheltered homelessness.

Better Together builds upon the former Neighbourhood Integrated Service Team (NIST) and the current Community Advisory Committees (CAC) models. City staff will act as key contacts by facilitating connections, tracking responses, and solving problems to foster effective communication and positive relationships between service providers and businesses.

Our Homelessness Services Outreach Team (HSOT) will also enhance their support in the three pilot neighbourhoods and conduct morning outreach to connect people sleeping outdoors with support and facilitate access to services.

The program will also work with local non-profits to support low-barrier employment opportunities as well as provide education and training to community members in the pilot neighbourhoods on the impacts of trauma, colonialism, racism, gender based violence, poverty, and unsheltered homelessness.

Better Together will take place from March 2022 until December 2023.

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