The City of Penticton announced a major investment into plans for local programs that put their focus on youth crime prevention.
The "made-in-Penticton plan" will see more than $1 million invested in three projects in an effort to reduce the risk factors for vulnerable youth.
“An essential part of creating a safe and resilient community is having programs in place that support young people who might be at risk,” Mayor Julius Bloomfield said in a press release.
“These projects are an important building block in filling in the cracks that some youth fall through. We need to show support and demonstrate in a practical way that the community cares.
“Council has set having Penticton be safe and resilient and vibrant and connected as priorities and this plan reflects those goals. The city’s social development department has worked tirelessly, with community partners who support youth, and youth themselves, to create a plan that meets the on-the-ground challenges facing Penticton. It reflects what we need to do as we work towards a city where everyone feels safe and appreciated.”
The city said the funding comes from the federal government’s "building safer communities" fund and is being distributed through the city’s social development department over the next three years.
There are three programs that the city said will work in collaboration to support connection to the land, school, peers and community. The programs are:
- Kwu Xast Program (land-based supports) Operator: Ooknakane Friendship Centre
- YMCA Alternative Suspension (school-based supports) Operator: YMCA of Southern Interior B.C.
- Youth Crime Prevention Peer (peer-based supports) and Youth Community Safety Officer (community-based supports) Operators: Foundry Penticton and City of Penticton – Bylaw Services
More details on each of the programs can be found online here.
The city said the programs were specifically developed after their social development department conducted extensive community-based research and local engagements, with both "youth-serving organizations and youth themselves to understand the biggest needs facing young people."
Jamie Lloyd-Smith, the city’s social development specialist, said this project is unique because of the collaborative and non-competitive approach taken by all the agencies involved.
“Everyone focused on identifying the best use of the money and then committed to continue working in partnership moving forward. There are lead agencies for the program but partners like the Okanagan Nations, School District 67, Okanagan College, and many others will play a role going forward. They will help refer clients, support program evaluation and provide support to the operators and the youth," they added.
"This type of cooperation and breaking down of silos is essential to ensure that the youth are getting the help they need. This is a win-win for youth at risk and for the community.”
The city said details on the start dates for the programs will be available soon.