About The Hope Dialogue Series
These events, each focused on a particular topic related to our neighbours in the inner city, are held to increase our knowledge and awareness, to foster dialogue and ultimately to deepen our understanding of the issues and challenges faced by our neighbours and community partners while imagining new and innovative solutions to improve lives.
Women in the Inner City, October 2017
The first Hope Dialogue was about Women in the Inner City.
Led by the women leaders of our community, about 100 donors and guests joined in conversation about:
how we got here, to the current situation of women in the inner city of Vancouver,
what is working and not working to improve women’s lives, and
how we can work together in new ways to make changes, to improve women’s lives and build hope in our community.
We prepared a study guide to help our participants be ready for the discussion.
It includes biographies of our women leaders, as well some history on how we got to the current situation for women in the inner city.
It also includes the words of our leaders about what is currently working to tackle the situation, and what challenges and opportunities they see.
Please view a PDF of the study guide to see how we set the stage for the dialogue.
What we heard at the dialogue session
Participants had lively discussions with our community leaders, covering many ideas, opinions, and perspectives. Focused around the three questions we posed, these are some of the key themes that came out of the dialogues.
How did we get here?
Colonialism, patriarchy, stigma, racism and poverty all resonated as contributing factors with participants
Chronic underfunding of women’s organizations has led to restrictions in services/programs
Generational effects of trauma from residential schools, ongoing trauma and stigma reinforced by the foster care system reinforce challenges for women in the inner city
Insufficient harm reduction facilities and support
Where are we now?
Despite the network of our excellent community partners serving women in the inner city, critical issues remain to be addressed including:
Violence against women is still epidemic and endemic
Opioid crisis is ongoing
Lack of women only spaces: safety and comfort
Lack of safe and affordable housing
Little continuity of care or resources after women move out of a supportive residential facility
Treatment systems do not adequately address complex medical or mental health needs
Women under-reporting the assaults against them
Lack of power – women’s voices aren’t heard, not enough spaces for women to talk about things that are important to them
Where can we go from here?
Create and strengthen partnerships and collaboration between women’s organizations
More long-term housing
Longer term services: allow adequate time for effective relationships to form between service providers and the women being served
More addictions treatment for women
More funding for childcare
Move from reactive model to a proactive model: prevention of addiction, violence and mental health issues
Reinvest in women’s services and resources, and increase access to core operational (rather than project-based) funding
By the numbers
A few statistics gathered from our first Hope Dialogue Series: Women in the Inner City, October 2017.
10 Community Partners
100 donors and guests
81% had an opportunity to contribute to the discussion
84% were inspired to take action
What Central City Foundation is doing to help women in the inner city
With the help of our donors, Central City Foundation supports many community partners to provide life-saving services to women in the inner city.
Our grants have helped organizations like the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, PACE Society, BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre, Atira Housing Society and Chrysalis Society’s treatment centres.
We provide subsidized space in our social purpose real estate buildings to organizations making a huge difference for women, including Aunt Leah’s Place, Vancouver Women’s Health Collective, and Crosstown Clinic.
After 110 years of experience at Central City Foundation, we know that real change in our society will be led by community with support from government, the private sector, academia and philanthropy.