Furthering Our Community by Uniting Services (FOCUS) is an innovative, collaborative risk driven approach to Community Safety and Wellbeing co-led by the City of Toronto, United Way Toronto and Toronto Police Service that aims to reduce risk, harm, crime, victimization and improve community resiliency and wellbeing. The model builds off of international best practices and lessons learned through the Community Crisis Response Program.
The model brings together the most appropriate community agencies at a weekly situation table to provide a targeted, wrap around approach to the most vulnerable individuals, families and places that are experiencing heightened levels of risk in a specific geographic location. Sites include:
A multi-agency team meets once a week to identify individuals, groups and places that are at a high risk of anti-social and/or criminal behaviour as either perpetrators or victims. By leveraging the skills and resources of diverse community partners, the initiative is able to respond to situations of Acutely Elevated Risk (AER) using multiple approaches — providing the community with the best possible interventions to respond to safety risks. The first element of response happens between 0 – 48 hours following a meeting.
“Acutely elevated risk” refers to any situation impinging on individuals, families, groups or places where circumstances indicate an extremely high probability of the occurrence of harms or victimization. Left unattended such situations will require a variety of emergency responses including police, fire, EMTs, Mental Health, Children’s Aid and others.
The “acute” nature of these situations is an indicator that:
Situations can be brought forward to FOCUS when:
The FOCUS Steering Committee consists of senior leadership from Toronto Police Service, United Way of Greater Toronto and The City of Toronto and provides strategic oversight of the operations of the FOCUS Toronto model.
The role of the table is to drive system-level reforms that will increase the capacity of the City and its partners to respond effectively to complex health and safety risks involving vulnerable Torontonians, their homes or property, and their neighbours
A guidance document was developed by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (ministry), in consultation with its inter-ministerial, policing and community partners and the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC).
Toronto Police Service and The City of Toronto were active participant of the Ontario Working Group (OWG) which partnered with Police Services, Municipalities and Community Partners from across the Ontario. The City of Toronto co-chaired the developed a number of documents and tools to advance risk-driven community safety and wellbeing approaches.