As the social effects of COVID-19 continue in the DTES, our team has also helped to launch and fund projects to address gaps. The community projects we have helped fund are:
Everybody Is In
There is a huge need in the DTES and in fact, across Vancouver, to coordinate small to large donations and match them with people in need through the organizations that support them. The Everybody Is In initiative is working to create a network of neighbourhood hubs, each with their own teams to manage outreach, donation collection, storage and distribution of supplies to the people who need them most. Multiple hubs are now being piloted and the long-term vision is to have hubs across the city that support their neighbourhoods as well as connect supplies and food to the DTES.
DTES SRO Collaborative (SRO-C) & St. James Music Academy (SJMA)
The SRO-C and SJMA have piloted a community hub supported by DTES Response that receives donations from the public-at-large, organizations, and businesses through pick-ups in order to minimize people from outside the DTES coming to the neighbourhood. The goods are safely received, re-packaged into hampers, and distributed to SRO tenants through networks developed by the SRO-C over the past 5 years. The hub also serves to receive donations for the DTES as a whole.
There is not enough food for the unhoused and precariously housed. There was a shortage of food before the COVID-19 pandemic, and now the situation is worse. To immediately respond to the additional food resources we need to combat COVID-19, we have coordinated with small DTES groups who are falling through the cracks in overall food security programs.
Phase I – Community Food Partners
We are partnering with Potluck Cafe to provide meals for 1,200 residents in the DTES until the third week of May. Community groups will then distribute the meals by hiring peers. We are working to support Aboriginal Front Door, Carnegie Community Action Project (CCAP), Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction Society (WAHRS), Overdose Prevention Society (OPS), Vancouver Women’s Health Collective (VWHC), Health Through SPIRIT, The Blue Door, Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU), and Muslim Care Centre who will distribute the majority of the meals.
Phase II – Community Kitchens
At the same time, we will be working to establish long-term meal-making capacity to continue supporting the unhoused and precariously housed after current emergency support runs out. This is a collaborative effort between the Phase I groups listed above as well as Watari, DTES Neighbourhood House, Jacob’s Well, Servant Partners, Hives for Humanity, Raise the Rates, Lotus Light Charity, and Megaphone Magazine.
We partnered with Overdose Prevention Society and Aboriginal Front Door to coordinate street cleaning from the 200 block of East Hastings to the 100 block of West Hastings. DTES Response provided equipment and supplies (work gloves, buckets, coveralls, masks, face shields) and funds to hire peers to get the project off the ground while the City has provided garbage pickers and bags, and are picking up the collected garbage once a day. Now that the program has been established, peers are being paid through peer funding organized by CIRES.
To read about the Community Grants we give, go here.