VANCOUVER – The Rio Theatre will screen the film A Long Journey Home: The
Rainier Story, at 5PM on Monday, February 18th, followed by a panel discussion to raise awareness of the need for women’s addiction treatment in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The panel will include former Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable Steven Point, Chair of the Advisory Committee on the Safety and Security of Vulnerable Women, responsible for the implementation of recommendations from the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry Report.
“The short film tells the story of the 40 women residents of the Rainier Hotel and their struggle to maintain funding for this important program,” said film director Colin Askey. “It is both a tribute to the courage of these amazing women and a call to action – challenging the audience to support the campaign to save this vital facility.”
WHAT: Film Screening of A Long Journey Home: The Rainier Story to raise awareness of funding cuts to the sole women’s only addiction treatment program in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
WHEN: Doors 4:30PM. Screening at 5PM. Monday, February 18th.
WHERE: Rio Theatre, 1660 East Broadway.
For the last four years, the Rainier Hotel, located in the heart of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside at the corner Cordova and Carrall, was the neighbourhood’s sole women’s only addiction treatment facility. On December 3rd, 2012, the BC Government backed away from their commitment to provide ongoing funding for the program, initiated in 2008 with a one-time contribution from Health Canada.
As someone who benefitted from drug treatment at an early age, Askey remarked that the Rainier Women’s Treatment Program was doing what was needed to help the women residents on their path to recovery, and that what remains at the hotel is no longer addiction treatment.
“It is an astonishing story,” added Askey. “Right when the Missing Women’s Commission of Inquiry report called for more programs to help vulnerable women, the federal and provincial governments ended something that was making a difference. It was an honour for me listen to the women tell their story, and it is very sad that governments did not do the same.”
Since the funding ended, the women of the Rainier, community supporters, and CUPE Local 1004 (whose members worked providing holistic care for women at the facility) have been campaigning to urge the BC Government to restore funding for the program. The film documents their ongoing struggle including a funeral procession walk of more than 300 supporters carrying black coffins 10 kilometers from the Downtown Eastside to the constituency office of BC Premier Christy Clark.