Housingresidents of the Downtown Eastside live in Many of the what are called SRO’s (Single Room Occupancy Hotels) They are often of substandard quality and have problems with crime, rodent and insect infestation, limited privacy and they cost the exact amount of income assistance shelter allowance.
Homelessness It is difficult to ascertain the numbers of homeless persons living in the downtown east side of Vancouver. It is estimated at over 1500 in 2011. These individuals live outdoors or move from shelter to shelter with no permanent address
It is easy to view this world from a glass half empty perspective. A walk through it is something that feels intimidating with so much poverty and a sense of despair all around. The people that I spoke to that work at the various agencies though are passionate about their work there. Many who come to find themselves working in the DTES never leave. They find the glass half empty perspective moving quickly to another one, filled with hope and strength, resilience and power to change. Soul Food Community Garden, DTES Insite Safe Injection Site, Downtown VancouverMAP van that travels a route around thecity overnight, making sure sex tradeworkers are safe
Media There is extensive press about the downtown east side, stories highlighting this year include the Missing Women’s Enquiry that details the Vancouver Police Departments handling of the dozens of women reported missing, many of them aboriginal and many sex trade workers, court actions relating to the Safe Injection Site that permits on site injection of illegal substances, as well as the shelters called ‘no barrier’ that allow individuals to attend with shopping carts of belongings, while intoxicated, or with pets.
Under Downtown Eastside (Vancouver) Assets MapcommunitycontrolControlledoutsidecommunity Social Service Addiction support programs for pregnant womenPotential ProgramsBuilding Blocks WISH Drop In Centre for Cultural Individual Capacities Survival Sex Trade Workers Organizations Resiliency Addiction Missing Women’s Task ForceRecovery/Detox/Treatm ent Programs Housing Restorative Justice Programs Faith Based& Community Courts Programs Income 24 hour no barrier Assistance Food Security Programs and Community Gardens sheltersBusiness Improvement Public Health Programs Mental Health Associations including Street Nurses Support ProgramsNeedle Exchange/Safe Injection Site Community Centers Community Police
Drop Ins Many of the drop in’s are very welcoming with walls of brochures on entrance and receptionists or greeters there to provide information and introduction to the services therein. There are a number of community centres that welcome all, as well as specific programs that provide religious support, food, clothing, shelter advise, addiction support, educational assistance or simply a place to “be”. One such place is Carnegie Centre, often referred to as the living room of the downtown east side.
Carnegie Centre http://vancouver.ca/commsvcs/carnegiecentre/ This community centre type building in the centre of the Downtown East Side provides an educational program, food, social activities and a gym as well as many other things to do for residents.
WISH The WISH drop in centre for Survival Sex Trade Workers is another example of programs for residents of the area. It offers dinner served 365 days a year, a make up room, help with locating shelter, on site nurse, showers, bad date board http://www.wish- vancouver.net/
The Downtown East Side of Vancouver is the area highlighted on this map, a vibrant neighbourhood in an urban centre.