Skip navigation

Exclusive demographic picture

Globe and Mail Update

With a per capita income that's less than half the national average, the neighbourhood is among the poorest of the poor. Compare key stats ...Read the full article

This conversation is closed

  1. Rachelle W from Kirkland, United States writes: Vancouver should have thought of these elements when bidding for the Olympics, though I suspect many people did. Of course no one could have forecast the economic downturn that we are witnessing, but anyone with elementary knowledge of the cost of Olympic games would have felt serious qualm...

    I visited Vancouver once, and was appalled by the number of derelicts begging for money, not that they don't exist in all major cities (I beg you all not to visit downtown Seattle). What is being done to help the homeless should have been done systematically and gradually, over the years. That goes for all of us...
  2. p.j. floyd from Jaffray B.C., Canada writes: How about we change the terminology? Instead of "the homeless" let's use "homeless people", instead of "the mentally ill" let's say "mentally ill people", instead of "Aboriginals" try "Aboriginal People".
    Maybe that would help us to remember that we share a common identity: Human Beings.
  3. Kat Wilson from Canada writes: I'm convinced that solutions will never happen for the DTES as long as we have the governments we elect. Let's face it, the government, without a second thought, will spend $1-billion on security for 17 days of the Olympics, but can't find its way to get social housing off the ground in the umpteen years since we first signed on for the Olympics. Funding of social services is haphazard and mostly bandaid approaches. I'm also convinced that some of the so-called advocates - and agencies that are funded in the area - have a vested interest in keeping their clients dysfunctional. I'm supposing because they'd go out of business if, heaven forbid, the addicts stopped being addicts and street hookers went back to school. I have some reason to think so. I've heard advocates for street prostitutes (most of them addicted) making a career out of being hookers, even though their lives are perpetually at risk. Advocates practically ran UBC's first very successful 101 effort out of the area claiming it was elitist. Any attempt to crack down on crack is greeted with derision even though crack destroys so many lives and is ruinous for society.

    The area needs a combination of tough love (zero tolerance for crack dealing, crack selling, and crack addiction by established drug courts and through enforced long-term rehab) and coordinated efforts to build mixed housing and services that don't ghettoize the poorest people. All kinds of novel ideas, from street farming, to involving people in housing design and construction, could work, but I bet you some paid advocate down there would find reason to object.
  4. Cdn Expat from Washington, D.C., United States writes: Someone please explain the bar chart at the top of the article. There is no mention of it.
  5. Laurie Rogers from Burnaby, Canada writes: As someone who has lived, worked and still advocates for the people of the downtown east side, NOT every advocate down there is opposed to such programs as stated by Kat Wilson. In fact some of my peers and collegues are responsible for creating such programs and would like more funding to create more. The problem is, the system itself and the way it's being operated. First of all sending a recovering addict back into the "slums" to attend probation or court on their own is "temptation" at it's finest. John is one week into recovery and must attend court, runs into 2 of his friends on his way there and the next thing you know he's off having a hoot. Addicts are weak, this is why they are addicts, you can't send them into a "drug zone" and expect them to handle it well. It's impossible. The second issue is the lack of treatment facilities that have "tough love" programming and have regulated monitoring of the residents. Let's face it, even the "slums" of treatment centres, charge on average $800 per month, IF the resident does not qualify for government assistance. There are several "treatment programs" that are privately run in this province, that are nothing more than masked "cash cows", there are no well thought out long term programs for after care and addicts NEED this desperately. Then you take a look at low income housing, which the majority of addicts MUST consider, since a lot are incapable of finding work after leaving a facility. So where do they end up? Back at square one, because the majority of low income housing is located in the downtown east side core. So here you have a recovering addict that has been sober from anywhere of a period to 30 to 90 days, being forcibly thrown right back into the very place they do not want to be, because the system designs it that way. And I'm not certain when it is that the "system" is going to realize that their way is NOT working and has not been for a number of years.
  6. Mikey Gault from Super Artist, Canada writes: DTES is full of First Nations. That is why it is so poor.
  7. Y Jiang from Toronto, Canada writes: When I first came to Canada, I was shocked by the fact Chinatown is a drug place. My impression is that Chinese do not use drugs (precisely use less drugs than average. i believe still some Chinese use drugs). How can the Chinese community allow the drug dealers work there?

Comments are closed

Thanks for your interest in commenting on this article, however we are no longer accepting submissions. If you would like, you may send a letter to the editor.

Report an abusive comment to our editorial staff


Alert us about this comment

Please let us know if this reader’s comment breaks the editor's rules and is obscene, abusive, threatening, unlawful, harassing, defamatory, profane or racially offensive by selecting the appropriate option to describe the problem.

Do not use this to complain about comments that don’t break the rules, for example those comments that you disagree with or contain spelling errors or multiple postings.

Back to top