Our story started with soap

… which has evolved to an ongoing effort to get resources to the DTES.  

When it became obvious that COVID-19 was a threat to the already vulnerable residents, community advocates sprang into action. They knew that frequent hand washing was one of the most important ways to combat COVID-19 — however, how do you wash your hands if you don’t even have soap? An ad hoc group of folks who cared came together to figure out how to get massive quantities of hygiene products to residents, and what it led to was an ambitious campaign to get more support for other immediate needs as well.  

DTES Response was created to try and coordinate ground efforts and fundraising to ensure this unprecedented threat would not disproportionately affect the most vulnerable in our communities. On March 23, 2020, we launched our DTES Response Fund to raise donations to support urgent needs.

Financially, we have responded in two main ways:

  1. Community Grants
  2. Community Projects

The spirit of the DTES Response has always been about meeting the needs of the neighbourhood. We are activating networks in the community to create a stop-gap plan for the most urgent needs. We are committed to making sure residents have access to items that will help keep them fed, safe, informed, and connected.

We may have formed out of a pandemic, but the Downtown Eastside deserved our attention long before COVID-19. We will not stop supporting the neighbourhood. We will not stop listening to the needs of the residents. We will not stop fundraising and advocating until everyone is safely housed and poverty is eliminated.

We’re all in this together. #WeLookOutForEachOther

DTES Response is a consensus-based collective that provides agile responsive support for the unhoused and the precariously housed in the Downtown Eastside.
We do so by mobilizing funds and resources for community frontline groups in order to assist with supporting their workers and peers, while also facilitating the building of a collaborative network to share information, resources, and be of mutual support.
Our Core Values:
• Consensus Collaboration
• Authenticity & Transparency
• Accountability & Respect
• Diversity & Equity
• Reducing Barriers to Access
• Compassion & Gratitude