Province announces plans to relocate the Community Outreach Centre to Park Street and hires Senior Advisor to review current services and make recommendations for improvements
Today, the Province of Prince Edward Island announced that an application will be submitted to temporarily relocate the Community Outreach Centre to Park Street in Charlottetown, and if approved, will close the current location on Euston Street within 60 days of approval from the City of Charlottetown. In addition, the province is also announcing that Carlene Donnelly, a seasoned professional in social services, serve as the Senior Advisor to the Premier and Cabinet in reviewing programs and services for vulnerable Islanders.
An application will be submitted to the City of Charlottetown in the coming days to request a temporary variance to allow the Community Outreach Centre to relocate to the government-owned property on Park Street while Donnelly completes a review and makes recommendations, with the support of other stakeholders, on a renewed model for programs and services.
If the application for a temporary variance is approved, the Province is committed to ensuring the Community Outreach Centre is moved within 60 days of approval. The Province is also committed to ensuring accountability measures for clients are in place before the Outreach Centre relocates to Park Street, as well as putting numerous other supports in place including:
- Funding to support enhanced policing resources with the Charlottetown Police Service;
- A Resident Support Team to work with homeowners in adjacent and nearby properties;
- Multiple clean-up crews to ensure garbage, debris, and paraphernalia are cleaned up in public spaces; and
- Appropriate procedures and processes to work with clients who don’t follow the accountability measures and respect for neighbours, community, and staff.
The current Euston Street property will be repurposed in consultation with the surrounding communities to create housing and appropriate services that the neighbourhoods require. The development could include a childcare centre, affordable housing, commercial space, market rental units, or other suggestions, based on suggestions brought forward from the community.
Donnelly, who was born in Prince Edward Island and is the current Executive Director of CUPS in Calgary, Alberta, has worked in the social services sector for over 30 years. Donnelly will be the Senior Advisor to the Premier and Cabinet on evaluating the current programs and services being offered on Prince Edward Island and will propose a renewed model and permanent location for services that will focus on ensuring individuals experiencing homelessness have adequate housing first, and then have access to appropriate support services.
The renewed model of programs and services for vulnerable Islanders will include providing services in communities throughout the province and not just within Charlottetown. The foundation of the renewed model will be based on Housing First, which is a recovery-oriented approach to ending homelessness by quickly moving people experiencing homelessness into independent and permanent housing and then providing additional support and services as needed.
To complete this work, a Task Force, made up of non-elected members of the community, experts, stakeholders, and officials from the province and City of Charlottetown, who will provide input into the necessary services needed to support residents and clients and what programs are working, or not working, and provide recommendations for improvements. Donnelly will advise the Task Force and drawing on her 30 years experience of working in the field.
Donnelly has already begun her work for the province and will be conducting a series of engagement sessions with stakeholders and community members in the days ahead.
“It’s not an option to not offer these important services to help support vulnerable Islanders. We – the collective we, including the operator, neighbours, stakeholders and both levels of government – agree that the current Outreach Centre isn’t in an appropriate location. That is why our government will be submitting an application to move the Centre to the government-owned property on Park Street. We are also excited to welcome Carlene back home and look forward to heeding her expert advice after spending 30 years working in the social services field in Canada. I look forward to working with Carlene, and all departments in government, to renew the model of service delivery to ensure our programs and services are modern and evidence-based to adequately support those experiencing homelessness on Prince Edward Island.”
- The Honourable Dennis King, Premier of Prince Edward Island
“The programs and services that the Community Outreach Centre are important and much needed in a growing province like Prince Edward Island. It’s clear to government, stakeholders and community members that the Centre’s current location isn’t working and needs to be moved. It’s also clear that we need to shift our model of programming to be focused on providing adequate shelter first; then providing the necessary programs and services to help vulnerable Islanders. It’s clear that moving the Outreach Centre is needed, and I hope the City of Charlottetown Council will work collaboratively with us to make this temporary move while Carlene provides expert advice to our government on a permanent location and model of program delivery.”
- The Honourable Rob Lantz, Minister of Housing Land and Communities
“I look forward to working with my home province to build on the model I’ve spent 30 years developing and refining in Calgary, which balances supporting those experiencing homelessness while minimizing the impact to the community and neighbours that live where services and programs are offered. The challenges that Prince Edward Island is experiencing are not unique; we’ve seen a growing demand for programs for those experiencing homelessness across the country and I know that working with the dedicated individuals who work with vulnerable Islanders every day, we can – and will – make a difference in the days, weeks, and months ahead.”
- Carlene Donnelly, Senior Advisor – Services for Vulnerable Islanders
“The clients we work with every day need our support. I also recognize that the current location of the Centre is impacting the surrounding residents. I am thankful for the help and support of the province to apply to the City of Charlottetown to temporarily relocate to Park Street while we work with Carlene to review our current service delivery and determine the most appropriate location for the Community Outreach Centre to be permanently located.”
- Roxanne Carter-Thompson, Executive Director – Adventure Group (Community Outreach Centre Operator)
Office of the Premier
Department of Housing Land and Communities
- The Community Outreach Centre opened as a pilot project in January 2020 under the operation of the Salvation Army. The Centre operated out of multiple locations before moving to its current location at 241 Euston Street in Charlottetown.
- In April 2022, the Adventure Group, under the leadership of Roxanne Carter-Thompson, was selected as the new operator of the Community Outreach Centre through a RFP process.
- The Outreach Centre provides day-time support for unhoused Islanders.
- The Community Outreach Centre offers support to people to identify and address ther barriers through a case management approach. Clients are supported by their case manager in seeking housing, financial assistance, counselling, while working towards gaining the skills to become employed. Islanders can also access food, washrooms, laundry facilities, and computers as well as connections to community and government organizations and services.
- Demand for the service has grown significantly since opening. In January 2020, 91 unique clients were supported. As of September 2023, the number of clients served has grown to 366 unique individuals per month with 62 new intakes.
Biography – Carlene Donnelly:
Carlene has spent the past 30 years as a senior leader in the social services sector. In 2003, she became CEO of CUPS and has led CUPS through significant change and growth, participated in high profile research and advocacy projects and has shared her learnings with audiences around the globe. Carlene believes in a science-informed approach to improving outcomes for children, families and individuals and advocates for organizations to adopt a business framework and apply current brain science to achieve a larger impact. Under her leadership, CUPS has evolved from a traditional charity to a trailblazing, science-based social agency, capable of improving outcomes for generations to come.
Carlene’s innovative approach using the practical application of business to increase the impact of the organization has yielded many significant advances. Some of her achievements include growing the budget from $600,000 to $18 million, executing three successful capital campaigns totaling over $25 million to accommodate this growth, securing contracts with provincial health systems to ensure comprehensive primary and specialist care for all CUPS, and expanding child development program to a two-generational model – aligned with current science – to ensure entire families are set up for long-term success. Because of her focus on reporting, CUPS began to develop program plans tied to demonstratable outcomes and put a data infrastructure in place that positioned CUPS to speak credibly about impact.
Carlene completed a degree in Psychology at University of Prince Edward Island and later earned her MA in Education from the University of New Brunswick and an MBA from the University of Phoenix. Among her other accolades, she’s trained in Coaching Skills and Change Management. Over the span of her career has worked to develop strategies surrounding the challenge of poverty for vulnerable citizens with every level of government, Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child, the United Way’s Council of Champions, Alberta Family Wellness Initiative, and advisory committees at the University of Calgary. Throughout her career, Carlene has been the recipient of many awards including the Inspiration Award, CARNA Partners in Health Award for non-profit leadership and poverty alleviation and the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal.