Fill Out the Thompson Community Safety Survey

The The City of Thompson and the Community Wellness and Public Safety Advisory Committee wants your help in developing a comprehensive public safety strategy for Thompson by filling out the Thompson Community Safety Survey.

We want residents to not only express their sense of safety and its causes, but also your sense of community connection, and your vision of Thompson in the present and future.

Click here to Fill Out the Thompson Community Safety Survey.

You can fill out the survey online at the link above, or get a paper copy at City Hall or the Ma-Mow-We-Tak Friendship Centre. Hard copies can be returned in a sealed envelope to the Front Desk at either office during public hours. The survey is anonymous: hard copies submitted will be compiled by the committee’s consulting team, Community Safety and Knowledge Alliance (CSKA) and submitted to the committee as a whole.

What is the Community Wellness and Public Safety Advisory Committee?

The Community Wellness and Public Safety Advisory Committee began its work in January 2020; in March, the Province of Manitoba awarded the City of Thompson with a $36, 000 grant to hire Community Safety and Knowledge Alliance as experienced consultants to facilitate the planning process.

Sixteen different organizations were represented in these initial planning sessions, led by Advisory Committee co-chairs Dee Chaboyer (Ma-Mow-We-Tak Friendship Center), Mike Bourgon (City of Thompson Fire and Emergency Services), and Staff Sergeant Chris Hastie (RCMP).

New Approaches to old problems

Since the 1990s, Thompson’s City Councils and local agencies have grappled with the challenge of addressing social health in Thompson. Although many discussions between community leaders have taken place over the years, they have rarely been assembled into a unified vision for Thompson as a community. Previous attempts at planning have suffered from insufficient resources, limited representation, and loose frameworks for accountability.

The Advisory Committee has discussed these barriers in detail, with a clear path to improvement.

Collaboration: This may be surprising, but the Community Wellness and Public Safety Advisory Committee represents the first time that the City, Thompson RCMP, and community agencies have come together to create an integrated, community-wide approach to public safety in Thompson. Previous strategies have suffered from isolation and limited resources: just as isolation breeds crime in communities, it also makes it more difficult to bring under control.

Building on Success: The Advisory Committee aims to harness the promising programs that have shown limited success in Thompson, and seeks to develop and enrich those programs while helping them work together towards their common goals.

This includes initiatives like the Thompson Community Response Team that works to overcome barriers and develop coordinated responses for urgent social service cases, and Ma-Mow-We-Tak’s Second Chances for Youth program, which uses restorative justice to develop a meaningful sense of accountability and community among youth who have committed minor crimes.

Accountability: Many community initiatives are stymied by the need for approvals from boards or directors, and when leadership is not present at the table, these decisions are often pushed to the back of people’s minds. The new Advisory Committee is made up of community leaders directly responsible for decision-making within their organizations, minimizing barriers to communication and delays from approvals and chains of command.

FILL OUT THE THOMPSON COMMUNITY SAFETY SURVEY HERE.

Last Week of Community Clean-up + End of Month Prizes!

It’s the sixth and last week of Clean Community Month in Thompson, and this week, we’re cleaning up ALL of Thompson! Anywhere! If you see a problem spot, gather your friends and pick it up, to enter to win!

Send us your photos and the names of your clean-up team for a chance to win a Hub of the North Hoodie, a prize pack from Recycle Everywhere and the Thompson Recycling Center, Two Vale swag bags, and this week’s big prize from Canadian Tire: a 6-foot Pelican Sit-on-top kayak! Perfect for this season: who knows, maybe we’ll have more water than land by the end of August!

Contest extended by one week!

We’ve had a lot of wet and cold weather during this contest, and we feel that residents didn’t have much time to get out and about on the dry days. Now that it looks like summer is here properly here, we want to make the most of it.

We’re offering up another week of prizes between June 26 and July 3, for a city-wide clean-up. If you see a problem spot *anywhere* in town, clean it up and send us your photos!

GRAND PRIZE DRAWS!

A number of businesses and community organizations approached us throughout the contest to donate their own prizes to the contest. We’ve saved them up until the end, and we’ll be raffling them all off on Monday, July 6! Everyone who took part in Clean Community Month, and who hasn’t won a weekly prize, is eligible to win!

AMP INDUSTRIES

Interior/Exterior Cleaning, Oil Change

Nickel Days Committee

$500 in various gift cards

NCN THOMPSON BUS

Small and Large Hoodies

ASSANTE WEALTH MANAGEMENT

$50 Gift Card – Sobeys

Thanks to our participants this week!

A big thank you goes out to the Morin family this week, who braved the rain to carry the Clean Community torch last week!

Week 5 of Clean Community Month and Extension!

It’s the fifth week of Clean Community Month in Thompson, and this week, we’re in the Southwood area. We’re also encouraging all of our local apartment dwellers to help clean up in their areas!

Send us your photos and the names of your clean-up team for a chance to win a Hub of the North Hoodie, a prize pack from Recycle Everywhere and the Thompson Recycling Center, Two Vale swag bags, and this week’s big prize from Canadian Tire: a set of two EZVIZ Husky Wi-Fi Outdoor Bullet surveillance cameras!

Contest extended by one week!

We’ve had a lot of wet and cold weather during this contest, and we feel that residents didn’t have much time to get out and about on the dry days. Now that it looks like summer is here properly here, we want to make the most of it.

We’re offering up another week of prizes between June 26 and July 3, for a city-wide clean-up. If you see a problem spot *anywhere* in town, clean it up and send us your photos!

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS!

THOMPSON RECYCLING CENTER

RECYCLE EVERYWHERE!

CANADIAN TIRE

AMP INDUSTRIES

NCN THOMPSON BUS

ASSANTE WEALTH MANAGEMENT

Thanks to our participants this week!

Week 4 of Clean Community Month Starts Today!

It’s the fourth week of Clean Community Month in Thompson, and this week, we’re in the Westwood and Burntwood areas!

Send us your photos and the names of your clean-up team for a chance to win a Hub of the North Hoodie, a prize pack from Recycle Everywhere and the Thompson Recycling Center, and this week’s big prize from Canadian Tire: A two-piece CANVAS Beaumount Patio Chair set!

As the wind picks up, it seems like there’s still plenty of litter still blowing into the downtown area. We’re more than happy to accept entries from downtown cleaners as well!


Thank you to our sponsors!

Thompson Recycling Center

Recycle Everywhere!

Canadian Tire

AMP Industries

NCN Thompson Bus

Assante Wealth Management


THANKS TO ALL OF OUR VOLUNTEERS THIS WEEK!

Thank you to EVERYONE who participated in Week 3: Individuals can’t win the draw a second time, but if you go out to clean up again, other members of your team definitely can! If you didn’t win last week, you can still participate and get a second chance this week!

Province Announces $2.8 million in funding for Sobering Center in Thompson

Cover photo: Justice Minister Cliff Cullen answers media questions at City Hall in December 19. A provincial delegation was not able to travel north for the announcement due to COVID-19 precautions.

On Monday, June 8, 2020, the Province of Manitoba announced a major step towards improving public safety and addressing addictions in northern Manitoba. Minister Cliff Cullen announced $2.8 million to establish and run a sobering center in Thompson, a critical piece towards a full-fledged Main Street North initiative.

The sobering center will be a 24-hour facility where severely-intoxicated individuals can take shelter while the effects of alcohol wear off. Individuals will each have their own room, and will be monitored at regular intervals for complications related to withdrawal.

SAFER SOBERING, FEWER ARRESTS

“The City of Thompson’s Sobering Center project will be an invaluable and non-criminal means of providing a safe and secure location for vulnerable people. This project will help alleviate significant policing resources in the City of Thompson, and enable us to redirect them towards other national, provincial, and local policing priorities.”

Staff Sgt. Chris Hastie, Thompson RCMP

The first immediate benefit of a sobering center is to reduce the number of police interventions with intoxicated individuals, and to reduce the burden on Thompson’s holding cells.

Individuals in Thompson were held under the Intoxicated Persons Detention Act (more commonly known as the drunk tank) over 2000 times in 2019. Not only do these detentions take up significant RCMP time and resources to process, but it also makes it difficult for staff and cell guards to properly monitor the people who are being lodged.

A dedicated sobering center reduces the burden on RCMP facilities and officers, leaving them free to address criminal issues like violence and drug trafficking more effectively. Those lodging at the sobering center benefit from more personal space, security from more aggressive residents in holding, the opportunity to stay longer at the sobering center, and more frequent, attentive supervision including detailed check-ins every 15 minutes. Alcohol is one of the few intoxicants where withdrawal can be fatal, depending on the level of dependence.

“We have access to a non-medical withdrawal unit in Thompson, but people who present a risk to themselves or others need safe lodging, with supervision and security, to detoxify before they enter the withdrawal unit.”

Gisele M. deMeulles, Northern Director, Addictions Foundation of Manitoba

A WAY TO A BETTER LIFE: FIRST STEPS TO MAIN STREET NORTH

Dedicated sobering centers create an opportunity for one-on-one interactions and counseling for those sobering up at the facility. They create a hub where users can be directed towards further treatment options like withdrawal units and long-term counseling and recovery.

A sobering center alone still only provides short-term shelter for residents lodged at the facility, but it’s an important first step towards a holistic program like Winnipeg’s Main Street Project. The Main Street Project provides local outreach programs, counseling, addictions services, and supportive/transitional housing programs either within the same facility, or as part of the same organization. This streamlines the recovery process for clients by reducing barriers due to bureaucracy, poor information, and geography.

The Main Street North project would also help ensure programs were culturally relevant to individuals seeking treatment and recovery, including western and Indigenous frameworks in the north.

“My 40 plus years in Thompson have shown me the need for a sobering center where individuals can be assessed, housed, referred and treated humanely through a safe and medically-supervised sobering process. Staff that recognize mental health issues, investigate referrals to addictions services and assist with health needs and family contact are all a part of an effective sobering center.”

John Donovan, Former Director, Addictions Foundation of Manitoba, Northern Region, Current Community Advisory Board on Homelessness Member

HOUSING FIRST

Projects like Main Street, and in the future Main Street North, provide services based on a housing-first approach. Housing-first approaches recognize that safe, reliable shelter is a foundational part of recovery, and aims to provide housing before other interventions like addictions counselling and employment support (though these services are always provided in conjunction with transitional shelter).

Over the last ten years, studies from across urban centers in Canada have demonstrated the success of housing-first approaches in successful recovery, including Winnipeg, Vancouver, Toronto, Moncton, and Montreal (which was the focus of a landmark study that ended in 2013). and the model continues to develop best practices to implement across the country.

“A project like this needs collaboration and commitment from a broad range of service providers in the community to succeed, Sobering centers engage people ‘where they are at’. Sobering centers offer a place where people can find safety and connection to services that speak to their specific social and cultural needs, including housing.”

C. LeeAnne Deegan, Community Advisory Board on Homelessness Chair; Instructor, University of Manitoba Northern Social Work Program

MANAGED ALCOHOL PROGRAMS

“Managed alcohol programs are a harm reduction approach for people living with severe alcohol dependence. The benefits can include decreasing the beverage alcohol consumed per day, increased quality of life, reduced alcohol-related harm, fewer police interactions, and fewer visits to hospital emergency departments, all which can reduce costs related to alcohol borne by public services.”

Paulette Simkins, Executive Director, Canadian Mental Health Association Thompson

Managed Alcohol Programs take a harm-reduction approach to addressing alcoholism. Where some individuals show exceptional difficulty maintaining abstinence and detoxing, a managed alcohol program can help these individuals focus on developing social function while receiving a controlled amount of alcohol during their treatment, somewhat similar to the controlled recovery from prescription medication. In the meantime, the harm associated from alcohol use is reduced through supervision and counselling. This allows an individual to address the stressors in their life and environment.

Managed alcohol is still a controversial approach, and much research still needs to be done. It is also not for everyone, and existing programs typically restrict its use to the most severe cases of alcohol dependency, with very specific eligibility requirements.

A managed alcohol program is not a guaranteed part of the Main Street North project, and requires more extensive community consultation to ensure such a program will work within our community. However, partners in Main Street North project are investigating all potential avenues for addressing alcoholism in Thompson and northern Manitoba.

YWCA Houses First Round of Homeless Residents During Pandemic

Edit: 25 residents are being housed in the dormitories, rather than 21 as previously reported.

With support of the City of Thompson, the Thompson Homeless Shelter, and Thompson’s Community Advisory Board on Homelessness, 25 regular users of the Thompson Homeless Shelter (THS) have been relocated to the YWCA’s dormitories to aid with social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic as of this morning. The individuals were selected based on their elevated risk, including factors like age, medical conditions, and more.

The YWCA has designated an area of the facility specifically for shelter users, and they have been screened for temperature and recent history on arrival. The YWCA is providing food, and those staying at the facility encouraged to remain near the building for the duration of the Province’s current Public Health Orders. The facility is staffed with additional security 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. No alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicants are permitted on site.

Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak has also donated hygiene hampers for the homeless residents being housed at the YWCA, including supplies like soap, shampoo, and a change of clothes.

The YWCA housing is being funded entirely through the $2.2 billion federal Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy. As part of the strategy, the federal government announced in May 2019 that it would be providing Thompson with $1.74 million in funding over 5 years (2019-2024) to support homelessness initiatives like the Thompson Homeless Shelter. This year, the City received an additional $200, 000 to support COVID-19 safety among Thompson’s homeless residents.

The Work Isn’t Over

52 individuals are still relying on the existing Thompson Homeless Shelter for a place to sleep every night, not including individuals who have homes in outlying communities but are stranded in Thompson.

After investigating the Polaris #6 building, which has been disused for 2 years, inspectors determined that the building would need more extensive repairs than previously expected before it would be suitable as emergency housing.

the Polaris #6 building was initially investigated as an emergency shelter, but would require more upgrades than expected to meet basic requirements.

The City of Thompson, the Thompson Homeless Shelter, and the Community Advisory Board on Homelessness, are still investigating other possible options for pandemic-safe housing. Both the Keewatin Tribal Council and Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak have also applied for additional COVID-19 specific funding to support projects for vulnerable people in the north.

In the meantime, the RCMP’s Community Relations Unit and the City of Thompson’s CSOs continue to patrol Thompson’s downtown to help make Thompson’s homeless and at-risk residents more aware of COVID-19 and the risks it presents to their community.

RCMP Community Relations Officers + City of Thompson Community Safety Officers