Yasir Naqvi, MPP Ottawa Centre – December 2014

Building Safer, Stronger Communities across Ottawa

Ontario is supporting an innovative project that will give young newcomers the support they need to make positive life choices and contribute to our community.

With funding provided by the Ontario government through the Safer and Vital Communities Grant, the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization will provide counselling and other supports to immigrant and refugee youth, aged 12 to 19,  who are in school but at high risk of becoming involved in criminal activity.

It was a privilege to join Leslie Emery and the staff at OCISO to see the amazing work they do every day and hear first-hand from volunteers and program leaders about how their counselling programs help youth.

This is only one of 24 projects across the province funded by the Safer and Vital Communities Grant that will help police and local community groups protect vulnerable Ontarians such as youth, seniors and those with mental health issues. The province is funding three projects in the Ottawa area.

The Safer and Vital Communities Grant helps support local crime prevention initiatives and promotes collaboration among police, community groups, mental health agencies and other organizations.

Government funding for such initiatives is helping community organizations deliver crime prevention programming locally, and police and educators keep kids safe and on the right track.

This is only achievable when police and the community work side by side. These grants help support local initiatives that bring people together to prevent crime.

It is essential that the government continues to invest in our people, to empower neighbours and invest in communities as they are the building blocks of a safer, stronger province. That approach involves working with and empowering community groups like OCISO.

The Safer and Vital Communities Grant is open to community-based, not-for-profit organizations, and First Nations Chiefs and Band Councils, to fund crime prevention and community wellness programs that have the support of the local police.

The grant has provided almost $9 million in support to over 340 projects across Ontario. Of that total, the Ottawa area has received approximately $800,000 to support 32 projects.

Among local recipients is the Pinecrest-Queensway Community Health Centre (PQCHC), which is launching a project to engage vulnerable residents living with mental health issues in seven social-housing neighbourhoods within the PQCHC catchment area. The Vanier Community Service Centre is another recipient that has developed a program to prevent victimization among elderly who are living in two subsidized housing buildings in the Vanier neighbourhood.

Successful organizations across the province deserve our congratulations for their efforts to prevent crime and achieve community safety and well-being.

I look forward to continue to work with neighbourhood groups and our policing and community partners to ensure our children receive every opportunity to grow up to be productive citizens and live in safer, stronger communities.

Please do not hesitate to contact me at my Community Office at ynaqvi.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org or 613-722-6414 if you have any questions or concerns.

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