For Immediate Release: October 13th, 2011
With weather forecasts predicting one of the coldest winters on record for Vancouver, and the City’s homeless shelters remaining at capacity throughout the summer and into the fall, Vision Vancouver and COPE are announcing their commitment to secure funding for a 24/7 women’s shelter in the Downtown Eastside – a priority cited by many orgainsations who work with vulnerable women in the neighbourhood.
“Many women from the Downtown Eastside have gone missing or are staying in violent relationships. We have heard from several community groups that homeless women often do not feel safe in the shelters that also allow men, and choose to stay outside instead,” said COPE City Councillor Ellen Woodsworth. “That’s not acceptable, and you can count on COPE and Vision to make a 24/7 women’s shelter a priority.”
“A 24/7 shelter for homeless women in the Downtown Eastside is an urgent need that Vision and COPE will advocate for,” said Vision Vancouver City Councillor Kerry Jang. “Shelters are not a permanent solution, but they are effective in providing our homeless citizens with a place to sleep, a warm meal, and helping them to transition into stable housing.”
Since 2008, the City, in partnership with BC Housing, has opened several emergency homeless shelters. At the Stanley New Fountain shelter in the Downtown Eastside, over 300 people have gone through the shelter and entered into housing.
A 24/7 women’s shelter in the Downtown Eastside is a recommended action in the City’s Affordable Housing and Homelessness plan; the plan was supported by all members of council except NPA Councillor Suzanne Anton. As well, Clr Anton was the only member of council to vote against the City providing ongoing support for emergency homeless shelters.