Breaking down barriers for inner-city Vancouver
Union Gospel Mission provides opportunity for connection
By Aaron Epp | Thursday, August 16, 2012
Photo courtesy Andrew Taran/Union Gospel Mission
VANCOUVER, BCMore than 1,200 people participated in an event organized by Union Gospel Mission (UGM) aimed at eliminating the barriers that prevent individuals struggling with homelessness, poverty and addiction from moving forward in life.
UGM, an urban relief organization located in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, partnered with 30 service providers for the "Summer Connect" event earlier this year." The goal of the event was to help participants gain access to housing, legal assistance, employment, income assistance and more.
UGM also served 1,000 meals, gave 80 haircuts, repaired 24 wheelchairs and walkers, and fixed numerous bikes as well.
"It can be really frustrating working in an inner city [area] like the Downtown Eastside and watching people who really do want to get better having to go across town to get to an appointment with no money for transit and maybe no shoes, after having waited in line for a few hours to get breakfast," says Derek Weiss, UGM's manager of community engagement.
"Anybody can relate to the idea that if you were hungry, if you'd stayed up all night and you had no money for transit, it's rough to get to a few appointments in a day. The point of Summer Connect was to remove those barriers that prevent people from getting the help they need."
Service providers who participated in the event included BC Housing, WorkBC, Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre and Legal Services Society.