City of Timmins hires social worker to coordinate strategies for people struggling with addictions and homelessness

City of Timmins officials have said they want to help community partners when it comes to negotiating with higher levels of government to address high rates of homelessness and drug overdose deaths.

“We have a public health emergency on our hands here and it’s important to have everyone on deck so we can act as quickly as possible,” said Dave Landers, City of Timmins Chief Executive Officer.

As Timmins moves forward with the implementation of a ‘Community Safety and Wellbeing Plan’ and the establishment of the ‘Timmins Safe Health Site’, one of the key people on the bridge will be Meagan Baranyk, a social worker with frontline experience.

“My main role is basically to understand the current services. There are a lot of agencies in Timmins and each works so well, but it’s about mixing them up and working well and not in silos,” said Baranyk, Community Strategies Coordinator for the City of Timmins.

“We are seeing a lot of gaps in the mandates of different service providers and so people are working through the gaps… and so helping agencies to work together making sure to identify needs and lay services bare where that need is, we should be better served,” Lander added.

Baranyk will coordinate with organizations such as the Porcupine Health Unit, Timmins and District Hospital and Cochrane District Social Services Administration Board and report to the city.

Over the next six months, she said she plans to devise key strategies.

“Timmins is very fortunate to have very strong collaborations, so it’s very easy to take on this role knowing that we just came together and we just have to work together to solve the problems that we all face. in our city,” Baranyk said. .

Landers said he’s excited to see where this approach will take Timmins, especially in the longer term, as it shifts toward more pre-emptive and less reactive actions when it comes to solving the issues facing residents. vulnerable people.

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