Last week, the Vancouver Sun published a series looking at the deep and complex challenges facing Vancouver's DTES. The articles tackle the inadequate coordination of services and funding in the area, the NIMBYism of other communities which results in the ongoing centralizing of services in the DTES, and the need for an innovative and comprehensive strategy that promises real change.
Scott Clark (ED of ALIVE) offers insight into the steps that decision-makers, including all levels of government, funders, and service-delivery agencies, must take to address the current situation. This means developing a new approach based on principles of empowerment and sustainability, reflective of the needs and aspirations of marginalized groups. Like others, ALIVE believes that all 24 Vancouver communities must become more supportive and inclusive of vulnerable individuals and families including low-income and Aboriginal populations. Too often, the traditional silo-segregated model of service delivery results in duplicated efforts and gaps in service at the expense of already vulnerable groups who continue to 'fall through the cracks'. The place-based model championed by ALIVE is participatory and people-centred, seeking to build upon and connect existing services and programs to offer coordinated, holistic service responses. Services and resources must be accessible in all neighbourhoods if we are to make any significant progress towards building healthy, vibrant, sustainable communities in Vancouver where everyone is able to claim their right to occupy and use city space.