Part three of this series on crime prevention comes at a time city council is considering the 2014 operating and capital budgets.
In the area of crime prevention, there are actually cuts to staff who co-ordinate and connect efforts throughout the Mynarski Ward and beyond to the Point Douglas and Old Kildonan wards. At this time in the Winnipeg Police Service’s move to partner with organizations and agencies that work in crime prevention, there is little acceptance from the mayor’s Executive Policy Committee to look at expanding the grants the City of Winnipeg already provides to a minimal number of organizations.
The 2014 budget does expand the Aboriginal youth initiative from $1 million to $1.25 million for the city’s share of this program. This initiative is moving forward on expanding employment skills to lift aboriginal youth out of poverty. But this expansion is in the face of cuts to other efforts the city is involved in throughout many neighbourhoods. The Turnabout and SPIN programs continue with excellent results in getting youth participating in recreational activities, but staffing that connects families to these programs is being cut around the outside of the inner city, where there is need.
What should we be doing? I mentioned many organizations in the Mynarski Ward that could benefit from grants through the City of Winnipeg. We are removing a large sum of money out of the community services budget which paid for water used in our pools, indoor and outdoor. The amount is around $1 million. It is difficult for people to pay for property tax increases, but a 0.25% property tax increase would be approximately $1.28 million, which could be used to increase and add new grants to organizations.
The money should be invested in organizations around the city, and in the Mynarski Ward the following organizations could use more money to deliver their programs:
North End Women’s Centre, North Point Douglas Women’s Centre and women’s shelters, for helping women experiencing violence affecting their children and delivering various safety initiatives in their areas.
The North End Ambassador Program, for increasing its capacity to take calls and walk difficult neighbourhoods, assisting seniors in getting home from shopping, cleaning up addiction-related devices, mediating potentially violent confrontations in our neighbourhoods, and communicating with and assisting business throughout the Mynarski and Point Douglas wards.
The Indian Family Centre, North End Family Centre and Andrews Street Family Centre for initiatives that assist the whole family in dealing with difficult life issues.
Indian Metis Friendship Centre and Kildonan Youth Activity Centre (various sites) for creative activities and non-competitive sports.
Community Education Development Agency Pathways and similar programs in the Seven Oaks School Division area, for more resources to support students to stay in school and receive their high school diploma, which leads to post-secondary education and skills.
The Elizabeth Fry Society and John Howard Society, for programs assisting people released from prison to get their lives back together and take responsibility for living a life without crime.
If the City of Winnipeg sets up an intake system for considering grant proposals, these organizations could also be accountable for reporting results to evaluate success for further grants.
To let me know your opinion, please call me at 204-986-5188 or e-mail