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DTES response launched to protect community from COVID-19 – Vancouver Is Awesome

by ahnationtalk on March 25, 2020612 Views

“The situation is serious and it is urgent. In a neighbourhood where space, food, supplies, and everything is shared, if we have one infection, it could decimate this entire community.”

A coordinated effort has been launched to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Called the DTES Response, the group aims to activate networks in the community to create a stop-gap plan for the most urgent needs of the most vulnerable in our communities. Right now, the group is mobilizing resources and coordinating operations to address the challenges.

The group has created the DTES Response Fund to raise $100,000 for immediate needs like food, mobile phones, and money for loss of income.

Roughly 15,000 people are at risk in the Downtown Eastside, and 3,000 of them are homeless. What’s more, 4,700 people in the DTES live in Single Room Occupancy hotels (SROs). Under these conditions, self isolating and social distancing is extremely difficult. SRO tenants share bathrooms and many do not have access to soap, making regular hand washing impossible. SROs do not have kitchens, soup kitchens have shut down, food banks have limited stock, and disruptions in informal economies creates loss of income. Additionally, many SRO tenants don’t have cell phones, so in self-isolation, they can’t stay connected, communicate, or get necessary information.

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