Central City Foundation bought the Cosmopolitan Hotel at 29 West Hastings Street in 2001. It was in total disrepair after housing nothing but pigeons for many years. After extensive renovations, the Cosmopolitan was reopened and now offers 42 safe rooms for the city’s most vulnerable citizens.

In 2008, Central City Foundation offered the main floor of the Cosmopolitan to the Vancouver Women’s Health Collective who launched Lu’s Pharmacy for Women, a social enterprise that created jobs and commerce in the neighbourhood and addressed a critical need. While Lu’s Pharmacy has ceased to operate, the Vancouver Women’s Health Collective has continued to facilitate access to primary and secondary health care services in a safe, supportive, low-barrier women’s only environment.

(Facts provided by Vancouver Women’s Health Collective [VWHC])

The Vancouver Women’s Health Collective at 29 West Hastings is open for 100 hours per month and serves an average of 1,000 clients per month, up 400% since February 2011. The VWHC has 25 onsite volunteers plus 15 volunteers offsite. Each month, approximately:

  • ♦ 600 women access the resource centre and volunteers for assistance with health appointments and healthcare enquiries, job related documents, housing resources, low cost health resources in the area, hygiene products, clothing, baked goods, coffee and tea
  • ♦ 180 clients see the nurse practitioner
  • ♦ 120 women participate in yoga and art therapy, and 20 women attend peer support groups and counselling
  • ♦ 220 connections are made with community organizations and women’s service providers


(Facts provided by Battered Women’s Support Services)

Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS) provides feminist counselling, systemic advocacy, community education, and violence prevention to support girls and women in its aim to work towards the elimination of violence against women. At BWSS, there are on average six to 10 women a day seeking crisis support for their first time. Of these, approximately:

  • ♦ 42% self identified as recent immigrants
  • ♦ 18% self identified as Aboriginal, Indigenous, First Nations, Native, Indian or Métis
  • ♦ 2% self identified as refugees

In the last year alone, Battered Women’s Support Services answered over 10,000 calls. Services provided include:

  • ♦ Court and police accompaniment, victim impact statements, legal advocacy, and crisis intervention for 4,200 women
  • ♦ Legal workshops and pro-bono legal information sessions for 500 women
  • ♦ 42 support groups facilitated, over 420 sessions, in which 1.520 women participated
  • ♦ 3,550 one-to-one counselling sessions
  • ♦ Job search skills offered to 105 women
  • ♦ 500 outreach and training workshops

From December 1, 2012 to February 28, 2013, BWSS Women’s Safety and Outreach pilot program provided supports to girls and women in the neighbourhood:

  • ♦ 56 women who experienced assault
  • ♦ Six women who experienced sexual assault
  • ♦ 220 women contacted, 82 visits to SROs, 48 visits to shelters, 42 visits to bars/clubs including Gastown through outreach works
  • ♦ 18 women accessed transportation and accompaniment to hospital
  • ♦ Eight women accessed transportation to shelter
  • ♦ 72 women accessed clothing from My Sister’s Closet, a social enterprise of BWSS
  • ♦ 22 follow up/referrals to BWSS services


(Facts provided by BC Women’s Hospital & Health Centre)

The Nurse Practitioner services at 29 West Hastings Street have grown from a few clinics per week to clinics every day of the week now to meet the demand from women. Plans are underway to further expand the capacity of the Nurse Practitioner clinics by mid-April.

Annual visits by women is currently over 2,000 and growing. Although the Nurse Practitioners may provide care from birth to seniors, the team is most likely to engage with women between 20 and 50 years of age. Of the women seen, approximately:

  • ♦ 90% are living in violence with significant amount of trauma
  • ♦ 60% are homeless or have unstable housing
  • ♦ 60% are challenged with addictions
  • ♦ 50% live with mental illness
  • ♦ 25% have complex chronic diseases
  • ♦ 20% suffer with chronic pain

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About Central City Foundation:

Central City Foundation has been bringing neighbours together to build hope in the inner city since 1907. By building housing and other capital projects, investing in social enterprises that create jobs and opportunities as well as funding hundreds of non-profit organizations, Central City Foundation has provided help and hope to the most vulnerable people in our inner city community for 106 years.


Media contact:

Carla Shore, C-Shore Communications Inc.

P: 604-329-0975, carla@cshore.ca