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City of Oshawa extends Welcoming Streets Initiative pilot project to December 2020

May 28, 2020

OSHAWA - The City's Welcoming Streets Initiative pilot project was extended to the end of 2020 by City Council at the April 2020 Council meeting. The initiative will continue to run in downtown Oshawa with support from the Downtown Oshawa B.I.A. and Carea Community Health Centre.

The Welcoming Streets Initiative helps to bridge the gap between business owners and community members who are vulnerable in the city's downtown. The project has made strides towards fostering a safe, inclusive and welcoming environment for all. To date, the Welcoming Streets team has interacted with over 550 unsheltered community members resulting in over 200 referrals to support agencies, provided learning and growth opportunities through workshops for over 250 participants, visited and engaged over 400 local businesses and more.

Through this initiative, community-based outreach workers serve as a first point of contact for individuals who are unsheltered and vulnerable and help provide connections to outreach services. Outreach workers also provide support, education and training to businesses in the area.

With the City contributing $120,087, the pilot project will now run until December 31, 2020. The additional funding is on top of the $50,224 the City committed to the pilot project in 2019 and will help cover costs associated with outreach work, de-escalation training and program expenses for the extension.

To learn more about the Welcoming Streets Initiative, visit the City's It Begins With Us webpage.

For updates on the City of Oshawa, visit www.oshawa.ca and sign up for news, alerts and e-newsletters. Stay connected with us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and Connect Oshawa.

Quotes:

"On behalf of City Council, we are pleased to see that within the first six months, the Welcoming Streets Initiative has made positive impacts in the lives of Oshawa's unsheltered community and for downtown businesses. More than that, through COVID-19, we have seen Welcoming Streets provide our vulnerable community with tools and information to keep themselves safe. City Council looks forwards to seeing the Initiative's continued success through the rest of 2020," said Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter.

"Welcoming Streets is a great example of how the City of Oshawa partners with business, government and community organizations to bring innovative solutions to our community," said Councillor Tito-Dante Marimpietri, Chair, Development Services Committee. "Welcoming Streets is building positive, trusting relationships and helping to connect individuals with the services they need. Within the first six months of the program, over 400 businesses have been engaged, while reaching out to over 550 individuals in need."

"The expansion and extension of the Oshawa Welcoming Streets pilot project rightly received unanimous support from Oshawa Council," said Councillor Rosemary McConkey, Vice-Chair, Development Services Committee. "It is a worthwhile outreach program that has a goal of providing support to members of the Downtown B.I.A. and unsheltered individuals in Oshawa, both to improve relations and understanding between them at the street level."

"The Welcoming Streets team provides a vital link between unsheltered and at-risk residents and the various health and social service agencies to forge that initial connection which has seen many individuals move forward with their lives in a positive way. I see Welcoming Streets as helping to complete the range of services to those less fortunate in order to improve the quality of life for them and for the downtown businesses where they live," said Councillor Rick Kerr, Council-appointee, B.I.A. and Regional and City Councillor, Ward 4.

"The early success of this program has been clear for any of us who have been in the downtown on a regular basis so I was pleased to see this extension receive such widespread support from Council. Like all cities in this day and age, our city's urban area has people who face challenges, but Welcoming Streets is one more resource to assist those dealing with these challenges," said Councillor Derek Giberson, City Councillor, Ward 4.

"The Welcoming Streets initiative has provided critical support and resources to vulnerable populations while assisting with increasing safety and inclusivity of everyone in the downtown core. We thank the City of Oshawa, City Council, and the incredible team at Carea for the continued support and emphasis on downtown, this aims to enhance the B.I.A catchment, the image of Downtown Oshawa - this will be an integral part of our successful growth and development," said Amanda MacDonald, Executive Director, Downtown Oshawa B.I.A.

"Carea is grateful to the City of Oshawa and the Downtown B.I.A. for the opportunity to continue this important work. Over the past several months, the Welcoming Streets Pilot Project assisted numerous unsheltered individuals and responded to and supported many businesses and residents. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the complexity of issues and the need for help has increased significantly. The Welcoming Streets Initiative personifies Carea's vision of building healthier communities together and we are very happy to continue this partnership," said Francis Garwe, CEO, Carea Community Health Centre.

City of Oshawa media contacts: ­

Mayor Dan Carter
City of Oshawa
905-436-5611; mayor@oshawa.ca

Councillor Tito-Dante Marimpietri
Chair, Development Services Committee
905-436-5613; tdmarimpietri@oshawa.ca

Councillor Rosemary McConkey
Vice-Chair, Development Services Committee
905-436-5615; rmcconkey@oshawa.ca

Councillor Rick Kerr
Council-appointee, B.I.A. and Regional and City Councillor, Ward 4
905-436-5632; rkerr@oshawa.ca

Councillor Derek Giberson
City Councillor, Ward 4
905-436-5624; email dgiberson@oshawa.ca

Warren Munro
Commissioner, Development Services
905-436-3311, ext. 2410; wmunro@oshawa.ca

B.I.A. media contact: ­

Amanda MacDonald,
Executive Director, Downtown Oshawa B.I.A.
905-576-7606; amanda@downtownoshawa.ca

Carea media contact:

Kim Lepine
Director, Health Promotion & Community Development Services
Carea Community Health Centre
905-723-0036, ext. 1279; klepine@careachc.ca