Thank you. Because of you, our Respond to Hunger Now campaign raised $20,695. That means 1,200 of our most vulnerable in the Downtown Eastside will receive a warm and healthy meal until May 18.
We also want to thank you for all of your support over the last several weeks. These have been uneasy times, but 1,712 of you have stepped up to make a donation totalling $179,230.
Do you know how incredible this is? We can’t quite explain how unprecedented this is, and how far your gifts go in the neighborhood friends.
And we want to tell you more about it.
As you know DTES Response was created to try and coordinate ground efforts and fundraising to ensure this unprecedented threat does not disproportionately affect the most vulnerable in our communities.
Right away the team sprang into action coordinating with different frontline groups to find out about their specific needs. We knew we had to get resources to the neighbourhood ASAP.
The funding support has been split into two areas: Community Grants and Community Projects.
Team DTES Response sprang into action coordinating with different frontline groups to find out about their specific needs. We knew we had to get resources to the neighbourhood ASAP. The donations we are collecting go towards food, hygiene items, stipends for loss of income, and other needs that arise. These are the groups we are dispersing funds to:
- DTES SRO Collaborative
They work tirelessly to improve habitality, safety, and housing security for SRO residents. The SRO Collaborative was established to organize SRO tenants in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and Chinatown. SROs are typically small single rooms about 10×10 feet with a shared bathroom on each floor and typically without a shared kitchen. They are known to be aging, decrepit, infamously lawless and inhabitable places to live with poor maintenance and numerous health and safety code violations.
- Tenants Overdose Response Organizers
SROs have been the sites of multiple overdose deaths. Many privately-owned SROs are minimally staffed, not staffed 24 hours, or have staff who are not trained in First Aid or Overdose Response. The Tenant Overdose Response Organizers (TORO)live in privately owned SROs and are hired to work on habitability and safety campaigns and to stop reno-victions that cause homelessness and to prevent overdose deaths in private SROs. This is a program managed by the DTES SRO Collaborative.
- Overdose Prevention Society
Is a highly innovative & collective solution to many issues in community health, & our project represents an inspiring example of citizen action in a public health emergency. Participation in our Overdose Prevention Site educates peers in Advocacy; Community Governance; Innovative Strategies; Health Literacy; addressing health & social inequalities; facilitators & barriers for scaling up innovations; and improving health outcomes through empowerment.
- Western Aborignial Harm Reduction Society
Is a group of urban Aboriginal peoples who live, work, and play in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside neighbourhood. They work to give their members a voice, teach advocacy, to empower the people to fight for themselves, and to educate different people about our members’ strengths and challenges.
- Friends of Carnegie Community Action Project
CCAP works on housing, income, and land use issues in the Downtown Eastside. Currently Friends of CCAP is a group organizing meals, hygiene kits, and COVID-19 information flyers to residents of Oppenheimer Park and on the streets near Main and Hastings.
- Muslim Care Centre
Striving to serve, share and counsel, MCC focuses on daily food distribution, addiction (drugs/alcohol), mental health and women’s counselling, chiropractic services, and daily prayer services.
- PACE Society
PACE is a peer-driven organization located in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver that provides support, advocacy, and education by, with, and for current and former sex workers of all genders.
- Aboriginal Front Door
AFD is a meeting place and a drop-in centre with a welcoming environment, providing opportunities to learn more about Aboriginal Peoples and Culture. When necessary, they can also offer other services, such as serving as a crisis centre, brokering long-term and specialty trauma counselling, food programs, and doing court accompaniments.
Watari’s service is trauma-informed and based on an individual’s innate strengths, capabilities, and desire for wellness. They encourage an exploration and deeper understanding of self and community, so that people can make informed choices.
Society of Pillars or Individuals Receiving Involuntary treatment (SPIRIT) engages in advocacy, knowledge sharing, and evidence-based practice to dismantle oppression in our mental health system and create new systems of healing. A Registered Nurse who is providing wound care to those on the street and partnering with a clinician to provide antibiotics for treatment on the spot in order to keep people out of Emergency Rooms. She also works with peers to distribute food and health and safety supplies to the unhoused and precariously housed.
- La Boussole
Créé en 1992, La Boussole, centre communautaire d’accueil crée des liens sociaux dans la diversité, et soutient les francophones du Grand Vancouver à s’épanouir dans leur milieu de vie.
Created in 1992, La Boussole, a community reception center creates social ties in diversity, and supports Francophones in Greater Vancouver to thrive in their living environment.
- Raise the Rates
Is a coalition of community groups and organizations concerned with the level of poverty and homelessness in British Columbia. They have been campaigning for 10 years for a systemic solution to poverty: raising welfare and disability rates in BC.
- Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU)
is a group of users and former users who work to improve the lives of people who use illicit drugs through user-based peer support and education.
- Coalition of Peers Dismantling the Drug War
They are a collection of people who use drugs and their allies, with the collective goal of establishing a safe supply for both opiate and stimulant users. Their primary goal is to provide a low barrier safe supply that is not medicalized and available to all. Secondarily, they are concerned with improving health outcomes from drug users across the province and country.
- Vancouver Aboriginal Policing Community Society
It was created to address social justice issues, improve safety for Aboriginal people and build the relationship between the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) and the Aboriginal community through education, awareness and open dialogue.
If you are a frontline DTES group needing assistance please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
As the social effects of COVID-19 continue in the DTES, our team has also helped to launch and fund projects to address gaps. These community projects — we have helped fund include,
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 Team is working to create a network of neighbourhood hubs, each with their own teams, and 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) and 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.
Our solution 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, Friends of 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.
Our solution 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.
None of this would be possible without you.
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’re all in this together.
Thank you for reading all of this. Thank you for your support. Thank you for caring.