The City of Cranbrook is looking for a new Social Development Coordinator, who will work to address the community’s social issues, such as homelessness, addictions and crime.
City officials said the position is needed amid a changing social makeup in Cranbrook.
“The Social Development Coordinator position is designed to coordinate with the Provincial and Federal governments in a more proactive way, coordinating with federal, provincial, and local non-profit delivered programs to identify gaps in social services, to improve the outcomes of these programs in Cranbrook,” said city officials.
The city said provincial programs offer homelessness-associated social support, and other provincially or otherwise funded non-profit groups are active in Cranbrook to manage the issue.
However, many of these programs and non-profits are struggling to meet the community’s needs.
That’s where the Social Development Coordinator will come in.
The opening was created through a motion by Cranbrook City council in Monday night’s meeting, where members gave early budget approval for $50,000 to create the full-time position.
“The City is working to coordinate and bring together all these programs and agencies to help fill service gaps, while working proactively with them to help identify emerging issues and collaboratively create plans to manage these issues, while helping reduce the impacts on our bylaw services, RCMP, and Fire & Emergency Services,” said city officials.
The position will also work to educate the community on social issues and on inform residents and businesses about the work being done.
Additional funding will come from the Regional District of East Kootenay to the tune of $85,000.
Mayor Wayne Price expressed the city’s gratitude for the additional funding.
“With many of those experiencing homelessness finding their way to Cranbrook from the more rural areas of the Regional District in search of services, it only seemed fitting that the RDEK assist us in funding this role, which will help support residents of all communities in the region,” said Price. “On behalf of the City of Cranbrook and Council, I want to thank the RDEK for their support of this new role.”
The RDEK was in full support of the move.
“Our vulnerable populations are not being adequately supported by the Province and our communities are all feeling the impacts of that,” said RDEK Vice Chair Susan Clovechok. “Our hope is that this new position through the City will lead to a meaningful difference, not only for those who are vulnerable and struggling, but for all our citizens.”
The announcement comes ahead of an expected rise in the visibility of Cranbrook’s unhoused population.
“The City is anticipating an increase in homelessness and outdoor camps to expand within Cranbrook, based on the trend of the past two years,” said officials.
Staff notes that phase one of the Social Development Coordinator’s role will involve getting in front of the anticipated influx and lead in areas of homelessness that impact the workload of municipal operations, such as Bylaw Services, Fire & Emergency Services and the RCMP.
The next phase will involve allocating grant funding from the Union of BC Municipalities for additional resources aimed at moving beyond daily issues with more secure, long-term funding.
Following a two-day East Kootenay Collaborative for Reducing Poverty conference in Oct. 2022, the city will also create a contract UBCM-funded Social Integration Specialist. This will be in addition to Cranbrook’s Social Development Coordinator.
“This second position will investigate things like housing attainability and land use, social planning, complex needs, homelessness, shelter services, transitional housing, poverty and harm reduction, vulnerable populations, community health and wellness, food security and community building,” said city officials. “Recommendations on policy and future programming priorities are also important outcomes. This second phase will operate under a non-profit model similar to the City of Vernon.”
Cranbrook council also directed staff to include $50,000 per year for 2024 and 2025 in the budget to ensure this role has a three-year term.
Those years’ funding will also be considered for the RDEK’s portion through their budget process.
The job posting is available, and will remain open until Apr. 10. You can find more details or apply through the link below.