260 agencies, housing sites crowd Downtown Eastside

Nearly $1 million a day is spent providing low-cost housing, social services and other support to vulnerable residents of the Downtown Eastside, a Vancouver Sun investigation has found.

The news outlet compiled, for the first time in recent history, a list of every agency that operates in the Downtown Eastside or provides a service there, and also tallied the organizations’ annual revenues.

In 2013, $360 million was spent by 260 agencies and housing sites to help roughly 6,500 people. Most are poor; many have addictions or mental health challenges.

Three-quarters of that money comes from taxpayers, as the agencies received funding from the provincial ($231 million), municipal ($15 million) and federal ($17 million) governments.

More than 100 of the names on The Sun’s list are social housing buildings and emergency lodgings, or the non-profits that run these services. And there are at least 30 health care providers, covering mental illness, addictions, detox/recovery, HIV/AIDS, and methadone treatments. Another 30 offer services to parents, children and seniors, including daycares, school-support programs, activities for teens, recreational programs, and immigration services. There is even a food bank for pets. Other organizations offer free food, drop-in programs, employment assistance, improved safety, and arts and culture programs.

LORI CULBERT AND PETER MCMARTIN Report

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