Host Team Has Positive Effect
Prince George, B.C.-The Downtown Host Team initiative will soon wrap up, and by all accounts, it has proven to be a success.
This pilot project, which started July 10th, has folks in high-viz vests walking through the core of the City, interacting with local residents, businesses, workers, visitors and the disadvantaged.
Made possible through a partnership involving the City, Tourism Prince George, BC Housing, and the Association for Advocating for Women and Children (AWAC), the initiative’s goal was to foster a safe, positive atmosphere for everyone in the City’s downtown.
Although the effectiveness of the program won’t be fully reviewed until mid September, the City’s Manager of Social Planning, Chris Bone, says the “ambassadors” have been collecting information since they started their work in the downtown over a month ago “We have quantitative stats the team has been collecting on a daily basis. It’s collecting information about how many tourists enquiries, what’s the nature of the enquiry, what services are you connecting people with, such as housing, health, food services, and just keeping track of the number of incidents that security personnel may have either de-escalate or refer to the RCMP.”
Bone says they are also doing a bi-weekly teleconference with the organizing partners for feedback, which, so far, has been positive “We’re hearing good feedback from businesses, they are happy to see the team downtown and the team has been endeavouring to drop in and introduce themselves, which has been very well received by business owners. I know our partner outreach team (AWAC) says it’s a great way for them to continue to build relationships with their clients and also with people who may not be aware of the services that are available to them in the downtown.”
Each “ambassador” underwent training for that included non-violent intervention skills, tourism resources and referrals and protocols for contacting the RCMP. AWAC provides its own workers, as does Tourism Prince George, the City provided $15 thousand dollars for the security personnel.
The pilot project wraps up September 10th. The program will be reviewed this fall to see if it should be reinstated next year.