DOWNTOWN EASTSIDE WOMEN'S CENTRE
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Since 1978, the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre has provided safe space, basic needs, and positive change for women and children in the Downtown Eastside. We operates a low-barrier drop-in centre as well as an emergency night shelter, connecting women to a continuum of care and a welcoming community.
About This Cause
The Downtown Eastside Women's Centre (DEWC) has a long history in the Downtown Eastside (DTES), and has been named by women of the neighbourhood as one of the places they feel safest. DEWC has provided safe space, essential needs, support, and empowerment for women and children of the DTES since 1978, and been a long-time advocate for women living in conditions of extreme poverty and violence. DEWC operates a women-only drop-in centre and emergency night shelter in the DTES, a neighbourhood characterized by high rates of homelessness, addiction, and mental illness, and one of Canada's poorest urban areas. Many marginalized populations reside in the DTES, where women are particularly vulnerable to exploitation and abuse as well as systemic forms of violence and trauma. Women who access services come from a wide variety of backgrounds, and include Indigenous women, Chinese seniors from neighbouring Chinatown, women with addictions, sex workers, and transgender women. As a low-barrier and harm-reduction based organization, we welcome all women, many who have been turned away at other service providers and shelters. Our drop-in centre serves as a crucial refuge for women who face constant and pervasive violence, as well as a lively community hub, serving hundreds of meals daily, and providing clothing, toiletries and hygiene products, showers and toilets, computer and phone access, as well as a bevvy of support services such as advocacy, victim services, skills development, and cultural programming. We celebrate special events such as National Indigenous Peoples' Day and Chinese New Year, host holiday meals, and facilitate outings and support groups. The services provided at the centre are reflective of women's needs and their participatory membership in the organization's operations, board, and governance. The continued generosity of our donors is what keeps us going, and our ongoing work would not be possible without community support. We thank you, on behalf of the women of the Downtown Eastside.