Maple Ridge’s Community Social Safety Initiative Attracts Attention from Around BC

In July 2019, the City formally launched its Community Social Safety Initiative (CSSI). Our evolving community driven program responds to crime and social problems using appropriate intervention, the overarching goal being to create a fully functional social safety net for our City. The City-funded program is a first in BC that innovates in utilizing three tiers of public safety coupled with an integrated continuum of housing, health and social services.

To illustrate the success of the CSSI in a concise and informative package, the City has released a short video that highlights key components of the initiative, provides a snapshot of where we are today and why it is working.

“The CSSI is a responsive program that addresses the public’s call for a safe community while assuring people access to the help they need,” said Mayor Morden. “Council hears from the community that we are making a difference. It’s an evolving program implemented by some very special people, armed with compassion and understanding on social problems, that drive this important work that is truly reflective of the core values of our City and its people.”

In seeing the proactive approach and success the initiative is having in Maple Ridge, a dozen other communities in BC have reached out to see how they can implement similar programs that help eliminate the gaps in the social safety net that are proving to be a challenge for local governments around the province.

Key components of the City of Maple Ridge’s CSSI program include:

  • The Integrated Safety Ambassador Program in conjunction with the RCMP
  • A Community Resource Hub with Senior government funding & Inter-agency collaboration
  • The Community Safety Officer Program 16 hour/& day a week service model deployment
  • The Supportive Recovery Housing Bylaw
  • Restorative Justice, Integrated Court and Diversion Initiatives
  • CSSI Public Engagement including Neighbourhood Consultation & New Milestones
  • City endorsed Housing List to the BC Government (mapleridge.ca/2612)

The Community Social Safety Initiative

One of the cornerstones of Maple Ridge Council’s Strategic Priorities around Community Safety has been the Community Social Safety Initiative (CSSI). The Program, also known as ‘LEAD Maple Ridge’, takes a comprehensive and integrated approach to deal with social housing, health and social services, community safety and security, and also manages City resources and engages in community conversations. The City has brought together the organizations working in our community to help coordinate resources and advocacy to ensure that citizens who are dealing with homelessness, mental health, addictions and housing instability have a path to better outcomes. Housing supports have always been a key component of the CSSI program, and our hope is that the BC Government will become a collaborative partner by investing in housing solutions across the spectrum of needs. Here is a link to CSSI program information LEAD Maple Ridge Goals & Principles | Maple Ridge, BC

Community Safety Officer Program

The City of Maple Ridge has developed a tiered and coordinated approach to enforcement utilizing private security, bylaw enforcement and RCMP. Specially trained Community Safety Officers (CSOs) are at the heart of the CSSI and deployed in the community 7 days a week, 16 hours a day to address the impacts of homelessness, addiction and the mental health challenges that are having an impact across BC. The CSOs are connected to the local service providers and help deal with individuals who are struggling in our community. Our goal is to help people get connected with the supports they need and improve their outcomes and to work with our community members to address negative behaviours impacting a feeling of safety in the community. Our CSO leadership team has been invited to share how the Program works with multiple communities across BC, a recognition that Maple Ridge is a leader in finding innovative solutions to difficult challenges being experienced in all communities in BC. Here is a link to background information on this Program and the overall Community Safety metrics. LEAD Maple Ridge Background and Resources | Maple Ridge, BC