Human-centred Engagement and Liaison Partnership Unit (HELP)
HELP began in January 2021 with the vision of diverting vulnerable individuals from unnecessary involvement with the criminal justice system and into the social supports they require.
With Government of Alberta funding, HELP recently expanded to EPS Patrol branches across Edmonton, with a triage system to manage the complex needs of those struggling with addictions, mental health issues, and houselessness.
HELP branch teams are made up of EPS officers and social agency navigators who engage directly with vulnerable individuals, and enable frontline Patrol officers to concentrate on crime and public safety responsibilities.
In the short term, HELP teams work to stabilize individuals and set goals appropriate to their situation, and transition them to longer term community programs that provide addictions support, medical care, housing, employment, or other resources.
The new HELP branch teams have been hard at work, and so far have had 2,837 interactions with vulnerable individuals, were the primary responders to 951 calls for service, completed 943 consultations offering advice and resources, and provided 579 on-scene assists to Patrol officers. The HELP core team that started in 2021 have assisted with 1,796 referrals and accepted 740 individuals into a case management setting.
The expansion of HELP citywide is crucial to creating Safer Public Spaces, and would not be possible without the collaboration and dedication of our social agency partners: The Mustard Seed, George Spady Society, Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society, Radius Community Health and Healing, Esquao Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women, and Hope Mission.
While this work is very challenging, it is also very rewarding, because it is making a real and positive difference in the lives of the city’s most vulnerable.
Special thanks to the many compassionate EPS and agency staff who are helping us provide this new level of service to the community.
For more information about HELP, please visit www.edmontonpolice.ca/HELP.