The city’s first emergency shelter housing 23 sex-working women and two-spirit people was approved for 340 Alexander in the Downtown Eastside, operated by the WISH Drop-In Centre Society, which runs a drop-in centre. The temporary shelter provided respite and long-term beds, showers, laundry, meals and a safe space on both a respite and long-term bases, as well as access to social programs.
Street-based sex workers were seen as especially vulnerable to violence, poverty and a poisoned drug supply, issues seen to have been made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic.
A safe shelter specifically for sex workers had not been offered in the city previously, although WISH has been providing meals, showers, safety surveillance, harm reduction and health and social supports since the 1980s.
City of Vancouver news release, Sept. 29, 2020. https://vancouver.ca/news-calendar/first-of-its-kind-emergency-shelter-for-sex-workers-to-open-in-vancouver.aspx
NOTE: As of December 14, 2020, it doesn’t appear to be open yet.
Prepared by: VCPC Chronology Committee
Last Updated: December 14, 2020