Funding announced to improve crisis response systems and community supports

Today, The City of Calgary, the Calgary Police Service and the Calgary Police Commission announced funding for programs and initiatives to advance equitable and effective crisis response systems and develop better ways to support Calgarians in crisis. The funding comes from a combination of the $8 million Community Safety Investment Framework and the $8 million Calgary Police Service Budget Reallocation Funds. The Community Safety Investment Framework funding recipients can be found here while recipients funded through the Calgary Police Service Budget Reallocation Funds can be found here.

The City and Calgary Police Service are working together to strengthen existing crisis supports and transform Calgary’s approach to people in crisis to achieve positive outcomes in the long term.

“This investment will help Calgarians access the right supports at the right time,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “Investing in programs that bring together first responders and mental health providers, including clinicians and social workers, will provide better relief and support to those in crisis. It will also result in decreased demand on police as more appropriate services become available for Calgarians.”

Community Safety Investment Framework Funding

A total of 24 non-profit and community organizations received $5.8 million in funding from the $8 million in the Community Safety Investment Framework. The investments will strengthen existing crisis supports by enhancing programs and services available to Calgarians affected by mental health, addiction, homelessness and other challenges. This includes providing support to:

  • Crisis outreach organizations such as Calgary Alpha House Society, Alexandra Community Health Centre and CUPS Calgary Society, as well as the Calgary Downtown Association and 12 Community Safety Initiative Society ambassador programs to improve access to services and increase the availability of 24/7 non-emergency support.
  • Crisis response work provided by non-profits such as the Distress Centre Calgary, Punjabi Community Health Services Calgary Society and Alberta Northern Spirit Foundation.

An additional $360,000 will go to fund a research project that will inform the development of a transformational crisis response system.

The remaining $1.8 million Community Safety Investment Framework funds will be set aside for design or implementation work resulting from the above noted research project.

Calgary Police Service Reallocation of Funding

Calgary Police Service, with input from its Diversity Advisory Boards and Anti-Racism Advisory Committees, allocated $8 million to 26 proposals focusing on enhancing proven crisis response partnerships. This includes Alberta Health Services (Police & Crisis Team, Mobile Response Team), Calgary Alpha House Downtown Outreach Partnership Main Team, Calgary and Area Child Advocacy Centre, Distress Centre, and United Way, to name a few. So far in 2021, Calgary Police Service has allocated $5.2 million.

“Investing in community partnerships is exactly the approach we need to take to seek the best outcomes for all Calgarians” says Bonita Croft, Chair, Calgary Police Commission. “Calgary has always been a leader in community policing and is again seizing the opportunity to lead the way.”

The Calgary Police Service made a commitment in September 2020 to reallocate funds to create better models of systems integration involving health, social services, justice, and policing to produce better outcomes and reduce demand on police. This commitment was in repose to Council’s Notice of Motion – Calgary’s Commitment to Anti-Racism.

Four focus areas were identified to meet this commitment:

  • Undertake transformational culture change to address systemic racism, discrimination, and marginalization.
  • Advance equity, diversity, and inclusion.
  • Reduce demand for patrol officers and improve call response with the goal of better outcomes for citizens in crisis.
  • Enhance service delivery through partnerships

“This work is a direct response to the call from Calgarians, to address our response to people in crisis and work towards fair and equitable service for all. We have said from the onset of this work, that collaboration with The City of Calgary, our partners and the community we serve is the only way to chart the right path for the future,” says Calgary Police Chief Constable Mark Neufeld. “We have long said that in a 24/7 world, police officers are often the default responders to calls better suited for mental health experts. This reallocation of funding provides better crisis response for citizens, provides much needed support to our frontline officers and it also reaffirms our commitment to transformational culture change within CPS, to honour our commitment to anti-racism, equity and inclusion.”