A single mom has been living on the street for some time and her child is missing school more frequently.
Just a week ago, the woman’s ex-husband beat her.
Her situation, and that of her family, is deemed extremely high-risk.
Enter the Surrey Mobilization and Resiliency Table (SMART), a collection of several social agencies working together to devise the best plan for the woman.
SMART has been at work in Whalley for about three weeks but was just officially unveiled on Monday at city hall.
The table of experts involves, the city, the province, Fraser Health Authority, RCMP, Surrey School District, social service providers such as the Lookout Society, Solutions to Homelessness and the private sector.
The above scenario, described by Lookout Society Deputy Executive Director Jodi Sturge, is the kind of situation where SMART would initiate action.
Several concerns would be quickly addressed, including finding the mother and child a stable housing environment and ensuring the ex-partner doesn’t attempt further violence.
Once the group has decided the case is a priority, an intervention is executed within 24 to 48 hours.
SMART is based on a program called “Hub” in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan – a model that has been initiated in other communities in Canada and the U.S. as well.
It has been instrumental in addressing high-risk factors found in child protection cases, violent crimes and emergency room admissions.
SMART is the first Hub-like model to launch in B.C.
“The Surrey Mobilization and Resiliency Table is another tool in British Columbia’s arsenal to ensure communities feel safe, and that families are safe,” Gordon Hogg, MLA for Surrey-White Rock said at Monday’s unveiling. “Our government is proud to be a part of SMART, an initiative that is leading the way for B.C. by focusing on collaboration, risk assessment and rapid response to reach those most vulnerable and at risk of harm.
Mayor Linda Hepner called SMART a “game changer” for people in Surrey dealing with complex social issues.
SMART will focus on those at-risk in Whalley during the initial phase of the project.