News & Upcoming Events:
May 17: The City of Terrace is holding a Food Security event. Click here for details!
What is Social Development?
Social development includes activities that work to improve and sustain the health and wellbeing of the citizens (the people) of their communities.
Municipalities have often focused on economic sustainability as this was the original key purpose for local government. Environmental sustainability has also attracted municipal focus in recent years as municipalities have begun to recognize and address issues of concern in this area. Increasingly, local governments are also turning their attention to social sustainability, recognizing that there are many aspects of civic life outside of the economic and environmental areas that contribute to quality of life for citizens. Social sustainability includes those things that support the wellbeing of the people that live in our communities and includes things like income security, food security, housing security, equity, access, social inclusion, and resiliency. Social development focuses on social sustainability and is about improving the wellbeing of every individual in society so they can reach their full potential. It is within this context that the City of Terrace has brought on a Social Development Coordinator.
What is the Social Development Program?
The City's Social Development Program (SDP) is new and evolving. Work will be completed in the upcoming year to understand our community, its existing assets, and its continued and emerging needs. Within this understanding, the City will clarify the role and major functions of the SDP.
As a starting point, the SDP aims to raise awareness about social conditions in Terrace and to engage citizens and community partners in planning for action on social issues that will improve the wellbeing of the whole community.
Major functions of the program
The Social Development Program sees its major functions as being to:
- Develop social policies, strategies, action plans, facilities, and services to increase social equity and wellbeing in Terrace;
- Bring together community members and partners in order to build relationships and create opportunities for positive social change;
- Listen to concerns and ideas emerging from the community;
- Promote awareness of the issues that impact our community;
- Identify, support, and build on our existing social assets, community capacity, and partnerships;
- Research issues, seek and disperse resources, develop tools, and generate knowledge and information on social needs and issues as well as approaches to addressing these needs and issues;
- Enable community members to use research and information to improve the quality of community life; and
- Engage as a partner in initiatives that improve social health and wellbeing in Terrace and area.
As the Social Development Program evolves, areas of focus and progress in the planning and delivery of initiatives and programs will be highlighted here on our Social Development page. We will also work to gather the observations, concerns and ideas of our citizens to help inform our efforts. Stay tuned for updates!
Contact the Social Development Coordinator
Current Initiatives and Activities
We work hard to advocate for our community through a variety of channels.
- Attending UBCM: The Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) convention is a forum that allows local governments an opportunity to submit resolutions on province-wide issues, and many of the issues we’re facing are similar to communities across BC and beyond. Over the last several years, we have submitted resolutions related to mental health and addictions, housing, and similar social issues.
- Collaborating with key partners: We work closely with provincial ministries like the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, Ministry of Mental Health & Addictions, Ministry of Public Safety, and others when we are advocating for more services, funding, and support for the community.
- Did you know? Many of our challenges, such as housing and health, are managed at the provincial level. This doesn’t mean we are exempt from any responsibility; rather, it means we advocate for the community by reaching out to request that the province provide Terrace with additional services, support, funding, or other community needs.
- Working with MP and MLA for support:
- MLA Ellis Ross
- MP Taylor Bacharach
It is extremely important to recognize that we work and continue to build strong connections with a multitude of other organizations on many of the challenges we face.
- Northern Health: Their team works tirelessly on the topics of overdose prevention, addiction treatment, safer substance use, stigma reduction, and more. The City’s role is to continue to meet with Northern Health to discuss these topics and raise any concerns for consideration. Learn more about Northern Health’s services here.
- Community service agencies, including Ksan Society, TDCSS, Salvation Army, and Kermode Friendship Society, among others: These organizations provide mental health services, housing programs, food banks, soup kitchens, outreach workers, counselling, and a number of other services to support vulnerable folks. Working with these groups helps us better understand and help to meet the needs of vulnerable people.
- Community working groups: We participate in the Terrace Situation Table and the Homelessness Intervention Project (learn more under Taking Action, below).
- Industry partners: We work with industry to request that they give back to the communities they are affecting. Even when industry is not in Terrace’s physical boundaries, we still are affected by their operations, especially when people working in these industries live, recreate, shop, or use services in Terrace. A great example of working with industry partners is the support from LNG Canada as well as Northern Development Initiative Trust for our Social Development Program. We are very appreciative of this kind of collaboration.
- Local government partners: We reach out to neighbouring governments and First Nations like the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine, Kitimat, the Nisga’a, Kitselas, or Kitsumkalum when an issue affects multiple communities.
- Public Input Opportunity on Homelessness & Related Issues (2019): This event was held on September 3, 2019, and allowed community members to share their views and suggestions on dealing with challenges related to homelessness. The key themes were security, the legal system, the health system, housing, and increasing services & supports. Read the report here.
- Community Dialogue on the Downtown (2021): This event was held on July 14, 2021, to allow residents and businesses to share their views and suggestions on social issues in our downtown, including homelessness, mental health and addictions, crime, and safety. The City also set up additional ways for citizens to contribute experiences and ideas through Engage Terrace, the City’s public engagement tool that launched concurrently with those engagement tools. Read more on Engage Terrace here.
- In 2020, we successfully advocated for increasing our RCMP to 28 members, up from 25 in 2019, and we added an additional full-time bylaw compliance officer.
- The Terrace Downtown Improvement Area hired downtown security as part of a 2019 pilot project, which the City contributed $20,000 in funding for.
- In 2021, the City hired a downtown security patrol for the summer months, as directed by Council earlier that year, and a Safe Streets Bylaw is also in the works.
Challenges that we continue to face generally revolve around capacity; our bylaw department is made up of two Bylaw Compliance Officers and a Community Safety and Security Officer. The Community Safety and Security Officer role was new in 2021 and has proven effective for reducing challenges downtown (see below for details). The cost of adding additional officers is about $90,000 annually. The limited capacity means our bylaw department must generally use a complaint-driven approach rather than a proactive one.
Through funding for the Homelessness Resilience Initiative, the City of Terrace hired a Community Safety and Security Officer in 2021. Within this position, Liam Nutma has been active in outreach and engagement with the business community, street-involved population, other bylaw staff, RCMP, first responders, public facilities, and service providers to address community safety concerns.
This position holds some of the usual compliance and enforcement responsibilities required of bylaw; however, the evidence-informed Community Safety Officer (CSO) approach that this position works within prioritizes relationship development, system navigation support, and facilitating connections to supports and services to address issues in the downtown core. This position sits with the frontline-focused collaborative action tables to collectively address the needs of identified vulnerable persons (i.e., Situation Hub Table) and participates as a partner in the Outreach in the Park initiative to connect street-involved persons to available supports and services. The frontline perspective of the CSO informs the work of the SDPC.
The TWOS initiative was developed in 2022 to provide an evening space in periods of extreme weather for street entrenched persons to go to temporarily warm up while also connecting with outreach staff to support accessing shelter and/or to safety plan for outdoor sleeping for those unable to access shelters.
The TWOS was set up in the old Coop lot from January through to the end of March 2022 with the Converted Seacan/Trailer donated for use by Progressive Ventures Construction and staffing supports and supplies committed by community partners from the City of Terrace, Ksan Society, Kermode Friendship Society, TDCSS, Northern Health, MSDPR, and additional food supports through Terrace Salvation Army. The space was used by community partners to host the Thursday Outreach in the Park Program, providing daytime outreach supports, snacks, winter clothing, and harm reduction supplies in a warm drop-in space through the winter months. Partners are committed to work towards this initiative again, with the expectation that it will be in place at the beginning of winter 2022 and ahead of any early extreme weather events that may occur over that winter.
While it is not the City’s mandate or responsibility to build or supply housing—it is the responsibility of the Province—we do have a role to play encouraging housing in Terrace.
- Help housing projects go ahead: We can make it easier for housing projects to go ahead through things like zoning changes, providing city-owned land for projects, approving development permits for projects, and similar actions. Examples of support:
- Sonder House: In 2018, the City donated land for the 52-unit Sonder house supportive housing facility that opened July 2020, funded by BC Housing and operated by Ksan Society to meet the growing needs of homeless and homeless-at-risk.
- Stone Ridge Estates: The City provided land and an affordable housing grant, and waived municipal fees for the Stone Ridge Estates affordable housing project, which opened in 2019 and provides 45 new units of housing.
- Housing Committee: Our housing committee meets regularly to discuss issues. It includes a representative from Council and staff, as well as several community members. You can watch these meetings on Facebook or our website. Learn more here.
- Housing Needs Assessment: The Housing Needs Assessment was updated in 2020 to review the housing needs of our community. Review the Housing Needs Assessment documents here.
- Annual homeless count: The 2021 count was completed in partnership with Ksan Society and BC Housing and is available here. The homeless count is valuable as evidence of our need for additional funding and supports. A few key points from the 2021 report:
- A total of 85 people were identified to be living in homelessness during the homeless count, which took place April 19–20, 2021. This is an increase from 71 people in the last homeless count. This increase is despite the addition of 119 new housing units, all of which were classified as affordable housing, supportive housing, or low-income housing.
- 45% of respondents reported experiencing being homeless for the first time before they reached age 25.
Challenges remain: our system lacks the supports to help house and keep housed the most difficult to house. We continue to see high rates of homelessness in our community, despite the new supportive housing projects that have been completed.
We are a community of 12,000 but we support as many as 60,000 people who come to Terrace to use our services. There are many who would benefit from mental health and addiction supports, both before and after a trauma situation occurs.
The Situation Table was coordinated in close collaboration of the City of Terrace, Ksan and the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction in early 2020 with additional organizations coming on board to work together to identify and reduce risks present in the lives of vulnerable people. The City of Terrace flows funding and provides oversight for this initiative.
The Terrace Situation Table includes:
- A Hub Table (Co-chaired by the City of Terrace Bylaw and Northern Health Seniors Services and administratively supported by Ksan) that brings together frontline staff and enables agencies to proactively identify risks through real-time information sharing, leverage, and coordination of existing community assets and relationships; plan and deliver collaborative interventions before an incident response is required; and reduce the level of risk with which vulnerable people are living.
- A Systems Lead (SL) Table that supports the work of the frontline members that sit with the Hub Table, guides the development of the Hub and SL Tables, and identifies systems-level challenges to be addressed.
As the Terrace Situation Table continues to develop, more focus will go towards options to collectively address systems level challenges.
In 2021, the City hired a Social Development Program Coordinator, a new role for the City of Terrace to help coordinate social planning and policy development, working collaboratively across City departments and with other levels of government, First Nations, community organizations, social agencies, and residences. This position has been funded with support from LNG Canada and the Northern Development Initiative Trust. You can read more elsewhere on this page and in the news release.
- Additional public washrooms have frequently been mentioned as a solution to help tackle the challenges of sanitation and hygiene. The City has ordered a Portland Loo, which will be installed in 2022.
- Council continues to support groups such as the Northern First Nations Alliance for detox centres and similar amenities when they have presented their ideas.
- Our grant writer program was a pilot project in 2020 and it has recently received funding for an additional 3 years from LNG Canada and Northern Development Initiative Trust. This is a great way for community groups to access funding for projects related to many of the issues mentioned on this page. Learn more about the grant writer program here.
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