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How it added up

Where did the $1.4-billion figure come from?

From Saturday's Globe and Mail

To find out how much money has gone into the Downtown Eastside since the city, provincial and federal governments signed the Vancouver Agreement in 2000, Globe and Mail researchers began by reviewing public documents and asking the various groups and agencies that operate in the area for a summary of their spending.

Where possible, hard numbers were used, but precise figures were not always available. So the tally also includes some estimates and promises of spending. (In some cases, it was impossible to avoid including projects and services that are outside the neighbourhood because the Downtown Eastside's boundaries are often interpreted differently, and some of the services provided to its residents originate elsewhere.)

In the end, a conservative assessment of the health, social services, housing, law enforcement and other public services came to at least $1,468,154,865, consisting of roughly $717.5-million for health and social services, $348.6-million for housing, $154.5-million for safety and justice, $230-million for economic development and $16.8-million on services that span categories.

For the most part, this money was spent on an area that is home to 6,000 people, the vast majority of it going to 2,100 of them who are considered to be in dire need.

The following list identifies sources of spending to change the Downtown Eastside discovered by The Globe and Mail. E-mail Globe reporter Robert Matas if you are familiar with additional sources of spending.

Health and Social Services: $717,450,000

Vancouver Agreement projects

Vancouver Coastal Health

Supervised injection site

NAOMI heroin trial

Abstinence based treatment

Social assistance

Children and family services

Non-profits, churches, business

Support for services outside area

Drug treatment centre at Keremeos

Mental illness/addiction in Burnaby

Beds on Riverview site in Coquitlam

Grants for addiction treatment

Housing - $348,586,295

Vancouver Agreement projects

BC government buys single room occupancy hotels

Pennsylvania Hotel

Pre-development costs on three city sites

Provincial homeless initiative

Emergency shelters

Extreme weather shelter

Subsidized housing

Homeless outreach

Seniors rent supplements

Working poor rent supplements



Safety and Justice - $154,450,000

Vancouver Agreement projects

Vancouver Police

Drug court

Community court

Pickton investigation/trial

Economic development - $230,853,000

Vancouver Agreement projects

Carnegie Centre redesign

Oppenheimer Park

City employment program

VANOC — Olympics

Oppenheimer Park

BC government grants

City matches province

Woodward's redevelopment

Segal Place

Miscellaneous - $16,815,570

Vancouver Agreement projects

Western Economic Diversification Fund

Federal government aboriginal strategy

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Return to Canada’s Slum:The Fix

Speak your mind

With the 2010 Olympics coming to Vancouver, the eyes of the world will be on the city's Downtown Eastside. The millions poured into the neighbourhood seem to have had little impact on its squalor, its people or their problems with addiction. What should be done? Where would you start? How would you fix Canada's slum?


Public Forum:

On March 24 at 7 p.m. PT, The Globe, in partnership with CTV and the University of British Columbia, will bring together experts with fresh solutions for the Downtown Eastside at a public forum at UBC’s Robson Square campus.


For tickets, call toll-free 1-866-545-0016.
Update (March 6, 2009): Tickets are now SOLD OUT


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