ANKORS is set to receive just over $79,000 from the B.C. Government to launch a new program aimed at supporting Cranbrook residents who are living rough.
Polly Sutherland, team lead and harm reduction coordinator for ANKORS said the Street Beatz program will help connect with people in a tough situation as well as the community as a whole.
“We’ll have guys out on the beat, seeing people and making sure people are safe and well and we’ll be responding to overdoses,” said Sutherland. “They’re going to out supporting folks person to person. So each case will be unique.”
Clients will get assistance in a variety of forms, including getting connected with therapists, first aid, drug treatment, or even getting a meal.
Through this program, ANKORS workers will also help out businesses and other Cranbrook residents.
“A business might say they have someone who is causing a lot of grief,” said Sutherland. “The Streat Beatz people will be working to mitigate some of the issues that we’re seeing and help some people along the way.”
Sutherland said this program will help expand ANKORS’ team so more people can respond more often and outside of normal service hours.
A portion of that work will be focused specifically on addressing the negative attitudes some may have towards unhoused residents.
“People are frustrated, and a lot of them don’t understand homelessness very well. They tend to target them and be very stigmatizing to them,” said Sutherland. “Part of Street Beatz is to help the community understand people’s unique needs and when people come from trauma, they need support.”
ANKORS is one of 44 programs around B.C. set to receive a grant aimed at funding community-led programs meant to provide services such as outreach assistance, creating temporary shelters and expanding existing shelters.