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Ending Poverty in BC
This is the 8th in the series of reports “Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside: Past and Present.”
Earlier this week LJI journalist Jase Tanner met with Shane Simpson, former MLA for Vancouver Hastings and former Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. Simpson was first elected in 2005 and only recently retired in the fall of 2020. In his youth he lived in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and was active in community development. Witnessing the Mothers of Raymur success in bringing about a pedestrian overpass to ensure their children’s safety had a big impact on him.
They discussed a number of things including BC’s Poverty Reduction Strategy, introduced in 2018, the $300 supplement to social assistance announced in response to the pandemic and what's needed in order to break the cycle of poverty. They also talked about the issues in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and what the next steps are in addressing these.
In the present day, the Downtown Eastside faces multiple issues all of which have been exacerbated by COVID 19. This is within a population that has been struggling for decades. Amongst these are housing, health; including overdose, mental health and the impact of the pandemic, poverty and homelessness, indigenous reconciliation and policing.
Future episodes will include representatives from various organizations: civic, provincial and grassroots, addressing the task at hand.
The work to be done is not to be underestimated yet the resilience and determination of community members, not commonly recognized, continues to grow. As well as these individuals, we will also be hearing from those who live in the community and call it home.