VANCOUVER—One of the most innovative and successful services for vulnerable and drug addicted women in the Downtown Eastside is under threat right before Christmas—an extremely difficult time of year for women who rely on its unique services.
News of service cuts have arisen despite recent attention towards women in the sex trade at risk of extreme violence, a heavily publicized missing women’s enquiry, and an obvious need for more detox and treatment services in the Downtown Eastside. The Rainier program assists these vulnerable women, offering one of the city’s few culturally appropriate and accepting places of refuge.
“You’re very involved at a point in the women’s lives when they want to make big changes,” says Lindsay Thompson, a mental health worker and CUPE 1004 member, describing the Rainier’s special working environment. “The support Rainier staff provides is tailored to the unique needs of the women they serve. It’s about understanding where women come from and walking with them every step of the way.”
Eight CUPE mental health and addiction worker positions will be lost as a result of Vancouver Coastal Health funding cuts, eliminating treatment and support services for at least 40 women who rely on them.
“In spite of the positive spin that VCH is putting on it, the truth is, there is nothing like the Rainier anywhere else for these women, and they will suffer,” says Thompson.
Sisters laid off as a result of the funding cuts, the women who rely on the service, and the Downtown Eastside community invites members of the public to support this vital program.
The Right to Recovery Walk will begin at 9 AM, Tuesday December 18th from the Rainier Hotel located at 309 Carrall Street near Cordova in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
View poster here.