Today, Board of Health Chair Kristal Chopp announced the finalization of Haldimand and Norfolk’s Community Safety and Well-Being Plan with members of the project team, staff and other key partners – including MPP Toby Barrett, representatives from the OPP and local hospital leadership.
Haldimand-Norfolk Health and Social Services and its partners have been working to develop this Plan for several years. Initiated first as the Community Needs Assessment (CNA) in 2019, the Plan identifies key needs in the health and social services sectors across both counties.
The Plan is a direct result of findings from the 2019 CNA and additional surveys, focus groups and interviews with community members and partners from mental health addictions, social services and justice departments.
From this extensive research, three major areas of focus emerged for Haldimand and Norfolk: 1) mental health and addictions, 2) rurality and 3) homelessness/poverty.
“The Plan is an extremely important document that will guide both counties and our partner agencies in addressing the unique social issues facing our communities,” said Board of Health Chair/ Norfolk County Mayor Kristal Chopp.
As outlined in the Plan, strategies must be developed to improve access to resources and support services, reduce long wait lists for housing, and address public transportation deficiencies that present barriers to service.
“Ultimately, the Plan provides the framework needed to ensure community members feel safe, healthy and connected, and contains actions that we can take to minimize, if not eliminate, barriers to service,” noted Heidy Van Dyk, Acting General Manager of Health and Social Services.
As part of the July 20th announcement, Bill Cridland, Norfolk County’s General Manager of Operations, highlighted the recent cleanup of General Simcoe Square and corresponding lighting improvements as one of the Plan’s kickoff projects.
Police and County staff worked collaboratively to assess safety concerns at the Square and develop tactics to support crime prevention through site-specific environmental design (e.g. hedge trimming, garden clearing, needle dropbox accessibility, etc).
“Hearing from residents has been instrumental in developing a plan that is tailored to the needs of our unique communities. There is much that needs to be done, but we’ve got a defined framework we can now work with to make progress in all of the critical priority areas,” noted Chopp.
The Plan has been submitted to the province and is subject to approval from both Haldimand and Norfolk councils, which is planned for September.
Updates will be provided regularly to the community as the Plan moves forward and key issues are addressed.