Lethbridge organizations are being asked to work together more efficiently in order to be more fiscally responsible and support the community more comprehensively.
This was the main message at Thursday’s Community Wellbeing and Safety Workshop hosted by city officials from Community Social Development.
“The City of Lethbridge has recently posted an RFP — or Request For Proposals — to allocate over $25 million over the next four years to address social issues within our community,” said Community Social Development manager, Martin Thomsen.
“That funding comes from various levels of government, and when we allocate those dollars, we want to be as strategic about it as possible.”
Thomsen said the key issues pinpointed in an analysis of where funding typically goes, had to do with a lack of planning and integration of services.
“Lethbridge is unique in that we don’t deliver social programming,” Thomsen said. “We are leveraging that expertise in the community and that’s the business model we want to keep on doing.
“The City of Lethbridge is simply saying we need to provide that leadership, that backbone support. We’re telling the service providers, instead of building a system within a system, leverage the tools that you have in the community, work together and reduce duplication.
“We recognize we have social problems,” Thomsen added. “We recognize we’re in the midst of a crisis, and we are going to fund this, but we have expectations.
“There has to be some accountability and return on investment.”
The group discussed issues such as multiple organizations providing similar services rather than working together to serve the community more effectively.
In attendance were provincial government officials, representatives from Alberta Health Services and Children’s Services and local groups like ARCHES (supervised consumption site) and the Lethbridge Soup Kitchen.