Ambassador Outreach Program Launches in Downtown

North Bay, ON – Aug. 12, 2019 A new initiative aimed at promoting safety and well-being in our Downtown was launched today on Main Street.

An innovative partnership between local social services agencies and community partners, the Healthy Community Ambassador Program will provide outreach services to vulnerable people in Downtown area and support to business owners and patrons.

“There’s a lot of work happening in the community that is focused on longer-term strategies to address the root causes of mental health and addiction. This initiative is something that can be implemented now to help address issues in our Downtown,” said Coun. Dave Mendicino, a Downtown North Bay board member. “It’s just one part of the solution.”

The Healthy Community Ambassador Program will see outreach workers, or “Ambassadors,” walk the Downtown and engage with vulnerable individuals, ensuring they are connected with available services. These Ambassadors will assist downtown business owners and patrons by providing education and responding to situations that do not require police. They will be working in pairs and will be recognizable by the program T-shirts they will wear.

“This initiative will help ensure that vulnerable people in our community feel supported and are linked with the services that are available. These individuals may struggle with complex issues, such as poverty and mental health and addiction and they’re often disengaged from the health and social service system,” said Mary Davis, Executive Director at Nipissing Mental Health Housing and Support Services.

Modelled after the Downtown Guelph Welcoming Streets Initiative, the Healthy Community Ambassador Program is the result of an innovative partnership between local social service agencies and community partners, including Nipissing Mental Health Housing and Support Services,  North Bay Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic-Downtown, North Bay Recovery Home, City of North Bay, North Bay Police Service,  AIDS Committee of North Bay & Area, Downtown property owners, the Gateway Hub, North Bay and District Chamber of Commerce and Downtown North Bay.

“We are proud to be working alongside our community partners on this program that is aimed at improving a person’s overall health. This program will support our vulnerable people in our community who need help,” said Wendy Prieur, Executive Director North Bay Recovery Home. “In addition to supporting this vulnerable population, business owners and patrons will have access to education and resources that will support their efforts in creating an environment that is welcoming and inclusive of all.”