Who we are
DTES Response is a coordinated groundwork effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Organizations in the Downtown Eastside are uniting more than ever to ensure this unprecedented threat does not disproportionately affect the most vulnerable in our communities.
What we’re doing
We’re mobilizing resources and coordinating operations to mitigate the challenges. We are activating networks in the community to create a stop-gap plan for the most urgent needs. For instance: providing food, cellphones, and money for loss of income.
What’s the challenge
There are approximately 15,000 people at risk in the DTES. 3,000 are homeless and 4,700 are at high risk in privately run 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.