‘I appreciate everyone for what they do’

This is the 10th in the series of reports “Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside: Past and Present.” The Downtown Eastside is a neighbourhood with severe issues, amongst them poverty, homelessness and drug overdose, all of which have intensified with the pandemic.

Last week, Emma Gregory and I walked the streets of the Downtown Eastside and interviewed a number of people.

The first person we spoke to was Charlize. The foster family she grew up with lives in Alberta; her daughter and grandchild live in Nova Scotia; yet she calls Vancouver home. Charlize told us about being evicted from her previous home, about being homeless for a number of months and about the challenges of now living in a single-room occupancy hotel (SRO). She has a love of writing poetry and playing music. Her Vancouver family is the people she knows from the streets of the neighbourhood. Charlize is an affable person we could all learn something from.

Each day this week, we’ll publish another one of these interviews.

Watch the full series here.

Jase Tanner has worked in the film industry for 30 years where he frequently serves as a shop steward. During this time he’s been active in social justice issues and has produced a handful of short, web-based documentaries.

Emma Gregory recently graduated from the Langara journalism program. She is interested in animals, agriculture, power dynamics, and the difference between free trade and fair trade. She believes that she is being spied on by her computer, but only for the mundane purpose of market research.