No More Stolen Sisters: Safe Shelters, Safe Housing, Safe Services in the Downtown Eastside
BC Housing, Mayor Robertson and City Councillors, Christy Clark and BC MLA's
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In response to a number of reported sexual assaults in shelters in the Downtown Eastside (DTES) of Vancouver and the urgent issues of womens safety, a coalition of DTES residents and over 30 DTES and womens serving organizations are calling on BC Housing as well as federal and provincial and municipal governments to act immediately.
Based on a clear vision articulated by hundreds of women in the Downtown Eastside, particularly in light of the imminent closing of the cold wet weather shelters, we are calling for:
1) A 24 hours low-barrier women-only (includes all self-identified women) drop-in space and shelter in the Downtown Eastside, ideally on Hastings Street between Main and Jackson. The establishment and operation of this service should be done through an accountable process including a transparent call for tenders and in consultation with community organizations and DTES resident women.
2) Housing for homeless women and children with at least 100 new units to be made available immediately.
3) Clear provincial standards for womens safety in co-ed shelters to be implemented immediately in all existing and new shelters, including but not limited to:
Women-only facilities in co-ed shelters with adequate women-only beds and services within those spaces.
Women staff and training for all staff by womens organizations experienced in issues of sexual and gender violence. Shelter contractors must demonstrate the ability to ensure safety and security for women shelter users and all staff must be able to demonstrate an understanding of gender inequalities that contribute to violence against women.