High levels of violence, homelessness, addictions and poverty characterize the Downtown Eastside community, and women and children are particularly vulnerable to exploitation, injustice and injury. Founded in 1978, DEWC is one of the few safe spaces within the Downtown Eastside exclusively for women and their children.
We provide practical support to over 500 women, children and seniors, every day. As well as providing a refuge and shelter from conditions of poverty and violence, the Centre provides basic necessities including:
- hot meals
- free clothing
- secure mailing addresses
- phone and computer access
- functioning and secure toilet and showers
We also help reduce the effect of economic disadvantage by providing:
- sewing machines
- feminine hygiene products
- computer access
- harm reduction supplies
- first aid
The Centre assists women with their immediate and crisis needs so they can develop stability and access the resources they need to improve health, family, employment and housing situations. We promote positive change by offering individual long-term support, education, advocacy, peer mentorship and exposure to alternatives.
Our community also works towards increasing awareness of systemic injustice and inequalities that contribute to women’s vulnerability. One of our goals is to bring awareness of poverty and violence issues to the general public and to the government.