Monday, January 19, 2009

New Homeless Shelter a "Disgrace" says Former Council Candidate

Audrey Laferriere, who ran for Council on the homeless issue in last November's civic election, passed these photos of a new shelter in Vancouver along to the Downtown Eastside Enquirer. "It is a disgrace," in Laferriere's view, "that the aboriginal community has agreed to use this building/warehouse when Storyeum [in Gastown] is being used for storage."

Laferriere says the address being provided to the public for the shelter -- "201 Central at Western - near the Main St. Skytrain Station" -- is not accurate. "It is 420 Northern Street," according to Laferriere. I understand what she means about confusion over the address. When a friend pointed the new shelter out to me, I told him I didn't think that was the address I'd read in the paper. Laferriere hopes these photos will help people figure out where the shelter is located.

Laferriere also hopes the photos of the shelter will give the public an idea of the run down state it is in.
"My knowledge is that there are no toilets or showers or heat. Might be wrong", she wrote in her email to the DTES Enquirer.

According to Laferriere, $500,000 was provided for this shelter." The hours of operation of the shelter are from 8:00 at night to 10:00 am.

The shelter is near McDonald's restaurant at Main & Terminal and Science World which can be seen in the background of the above photo.

Mayor Robertson Making Progress 

I have noticed in the last week or two that there are less people sleeping on the streets, which suggests that Mayor Gregor Robertson's HEAT team are getting something done.

I still see the occasional homeless person though. Last night when I walked a friend home at about 10:30 p.m., I noticed a woman with a shopping cart huddled at Columbia & Powell, beside Columbia St. housing. She was there a day or two earlier as well. Maybe she doesn't know that the First United Church-Mission shelter takes shopping carts.

Last night a homeless guy who brought his shopping cart into McDonald's restaurant on Main near Terminal was told to leave. He left yelling. Last week, he cut his hair and shaved in the eating area. That guy might go to a shelter if he knew the one at First United takes shopping carts.

1 comment:

Rachel Davis said...

Yes, well, Storeum is located where tourists might see the homeless lining up, in Gastown. That might not be so good for Vancouver's image I guess.

Thanks for publishing this story, it's a real eye opener. Gotta say this place is not looking terribly habitable.
I heard from Audrey that it is being catered by Potluck caterers. They make good food, as I recall from going into their downtown location once.