REACH Edmonton

More vulnerable people are being served by the 24/7 Edmonton Crisis Diversion Team after the transition to a new collaborative model October 1.

The new integrated model emerged by consulting with 25 organizations, including those serving indigenous communities, the inner-city, youth, and immigrants and refugees.

The new integrated team brings together multiple inner city programs to serve more people in crisis. Citizens are continuing to call 211 when they see Edmontonians who are in need of help but not necessarily police. Boyle Street Community Services and Hope Mission provide the crisis diversion service on the streets, allowing emergency services to respond to other calls.

Edmonton’s 24/7 Edmonton Crisis Diversion Team is a mobile program in the downtown and Edmonton’s most vulnerable neighbourhoods helping people in non-emergency crises. The around-the-clock team diverts non-emergency crises from police and ambulances while improving response times and connecting vulnerable people to appropriate services.

After a two-year prototype, known as 24/7 MAP (Mobile Assistance Program), new partners have been brought into the collaboration to offer crisis diversion services more efficiently, around-the-clock.

Over the past two years, this program responded to 6,557 crisis diversion situations across the city, with 70.2% of the contacts within the inner city.

Since the transition, there are now three outreach teams on the street, responding to more referrals from police and ambulance, allowing emergency services to respond to other calls.

“The original prototype was working well but we had to find a more sustainable model that would enable the partners to align and leverage existing services,” said Lindsay Daniller, director of community initiatives and development at REACH Edmonton. “This kind of collaboration can be a challenge but our experience has shown that if we come to the table with a common goal, we can produce positive results.”

For every $1 invested, evaluation showed a social return of $2.50. This number is expected to rise to $3.66 in the next year.

In September, the 24/7 MAP Team responded to 248 calls referred from emergency services. Under the new model, this increased to 399 calls in the month of October. Of these, 25% were referrals from police, 25% from ambulance and the rest from 211 and community agencies.

The first program prototype launched April 30, 2013.