Alison Gutrath is the community coordinator for the In It Together program, which loses its federal funding on Sept. 30. (Don Gutrath Photography)

Alison Gutrath is the community coordinator for the In It Together program, which loses its federal funding on Sept. 30. (Don Gutrath Photography)

Funding is running out for Abbotsford gang-prevention program

In It Together federal funding ends Sept. 30, impacting 100 at-risk youth

Federal funding for an Abbotsford gang-prevention program is running out at the end of next month, ending support for more than 100 at-risk youth and their families, says the program’s community coordinator.

Alison Gutrath says the funding for the In It Together (IIT) program was provided by the Ministry of Public Safety for five years, starting in 2013.

That funding runs out Sept. 30 and and although there is a new funding approval round in process, the money is uncertain and isn’t scheduled to start until April 2019.

“Without funding for the six months, we’ll have to shut down the program and stop supporting youth and their families. It will be a devastating setback to a proven and successful program,” Gutrath said.

Requests to the provincial government to provide temporary funding have not been approved.

Gutrath said IIT needs $423,000 to provide essential services in the six months for the highest risk youth and their families.

Since the program began in 2013, staff have provided prevention, intervention and re-entry support for more than 1,500 at-risk youth and their family members.

Participants usually spend more than a year in the program and there have been over 15,000 hours of one-to-one youth outreach work.

“We work to stop the flow of young people into gangs, help support those who want to leave a gang and provide case management for those leaving prison,” Gutrath said.

“We know that prevention is less expensive than dealing with the aftermath of gang conflict.”

The IIT program is a partnership between Abbotsford Community Services, the Abbotsford Police Department, John Howard Society and Abbotsford school district.

Police Chief Bob Rich supports the program and is helping rally government support.

“The Lower Mainland gang conflict has deep roots in both Surrey and Abbotsford. Both communities need comprehensive prevention strategies to ensure this gang problem doesn’t continue in the years to come,” he said.

School district superintendent Kevin Godden said: “Since the program has been put in place, we have been able to more readily identify and support students who are at-risk of school failure due to their involvement with gangs.

“This commitment to prevention and intervention has been key in supporting a number of our students and, without this partnership, we would lose our ability to identify these youth early on and to ‘wrap around’ the youth with the supports needed.”

Gutrath is already hearing from concerned parents of youth in the program.

One client’s mother, who did not wish to be identified, has a son involved in programs through the South Asian Community Resource Office – a program of ITT. “There is a good possibility that had SACRO not have been there for him, my son would not be alive today,” she said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Highway 1 eastbound has one lane closed as crews worked to clear up an accident earlier this afternoon.
Accident shuts down one lane eastbound on Highway 1 in Abbotsford

Major congestion between Riverside Road and Sumas exit

Alan Pryor in 2015, during the Agassiz Fire Department’s 70th year. (Greg Laychak/The Observer)
Agassiz fireman celebrates 51 years at the hall

Al Pryor has been a key member in the Agassiz Fire Department since he was 16

Scales of Justice
Court awards woman $167K after vehicle was struck by White Rock taxi in 2016

Plaintiff’s knee injuries and resulting chronic pain disability are genuine, judge rules

Mike Bismeyer of Abbotsford is the recipient of the national Savita Shah Award for his work promoting kindness and anti-bullying initiatives.
Abbotsford man who was bullied as a teen receives national kindness award

Mike Bismeyer is one of two Canadians to earn Savita Shah Award

RCMP were on scene under the Menzies Street bridge in Chilliwack on Thursday, March 4, 2021 where a body was found. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
UPDATE: Body found under Menzies bridge in Chilliwack that of man in 20s

Death not considered suspicious, said Chilliwack RCMP

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Burnaby Mounties responded to 56 complaints and issued 10 tickets to people flouting COVID-19 restrictions in February. (Patrick Davies/100 Mile Free Press)
COVID denier fined $2,300 for hosting gathering in her home: Burnaby RCMP

The woman told Mounties she does not believe the pandemic is real

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Grand Forks’ Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

Most Read