AS part of a strategy to take action on gang violence and make communities safer, the successful Surrey Wraparound (Wrap) program to keep at-risk youth out of gang life will receive ongoing annual funding from the Province, Premier John Horgan announced on Thursday.
“People deserve to feel safe and know that steady support is there to stop their kids from falling into a life of gang violence,” Horgan said. “As part of our commitment to tackle gangs and
gun violence, today we’re delivering stable, secure funding for a program that keeps at-risk youth out of gangs and makes our communities safer.”
Wrap identifies youth who are at risk of joining gangs and connects them with outreach workers, teachers and police. The government doubled funding for Wrap to $500,000 in August to help eliminate the program’s waitlist.
Thursday’s announcement makes annual funding of $500,000 for Wrap permanent.
“Surrey Wrap is about stopping the flow of young people into positions in the drug trade that open up when someone else dies or goes to jail,” said Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth. “By keeping youth out of gangs, we can stop this vicious circle and build a better future for our communities.”
Geared to at-risk participants as young as 11, the Wrap program has reduced participants’ negative police contacts by two-thirds. While Wrap has helped more than 500 families and youth over the last eight years, demand for the program
has consistently been high. Recently, additional funding from the Province helped to reduce the waitlist by 65%.
The Province is also taking immediate action on gun and gang violence by:
- working in partnership to implement the Surrey Accord;
- reviewing viable recommendations stemming from the Illegal Firearms Task Force;
- seeking to further support police efforts to disrupt the illegal drug supply chain, including pushing the federal government for increased penalties for drug dealers;
- calling on the federal government to increase B.C.’s federal RCMP complement to bolster enforcement efforts;
- pursuing B.C.’s share of the $100 million in funding the federal government announced as part of its platform for help with guns and gangs.
- Surrey Wrap provides participants with intensive supports, including individual and family counselling, recreational activities, mentoring, substance abuse and mental health support, life skills training and job placement.
- The program helps at-risk participants to build positive lifestyles and self-worth through a stronger connection to their homes, schools and community.
- A collaborative partnership between the Surrey RCMP, the Surrey school district (SD 36) and the City of Surrey, Wrap also receives funding from Public Safety Canada, including $3.5 million from 2015 to 2020.
- As part of an initiative to protect public safety and cut off illegal drug supplies, including fentanyl, the recent budget update included $32 million to fund critical enforcement measures targeting drug traffickers and organized crime, including:
- New dedicated anti-trafficking teams within the provincial RCMP and Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU-BC), with additional officers and support staff to go after, arrest and prosecute drug traffickers to disrupt the drug supply line in communities.
- Resources for all police agencies for enforcement activity against organized crime importers and traffickers, through the province’s gang unit (CFSEU-BC), including more funding for projects that specifically target traffickers, to stem the flow of illegal drugs, including fentanyl, into B.C.