Gatherings on Princess Avenue: Summer Connect / Beyond 150

Participants from the Vancouver Rent Bank appreciated the opportunity to gather at Summer Connect.

Princess Avenue doesn’t have an official ‘car free’ day, but the Downtown Eastside street will in fact be closed to cars twice this week.

Yesterday Union Gospel Mission (UGM) hosted Summer Connect outside its building  north of Hastings, and on Sunday (June 18) the Mosaic community will host Beyond 150 outside of Strathcona Church, just south of Hastings.

Summer Connect

More than 40 organizations – a very diverse group – gathered outside Union Gospel Mission (UGM) June 14, all offering their own services and support to the people of the local community. Among them were BC SPCA, Binners’ Project, People’s Law School and Vancouver Women’s Health Collective. For the full list see the end of the story.

Jeremy Hunka, UGM’s public relations spokesman, said:

UGM’s 6th annual Summer Connect aims to streamline access to vital supports for those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Everything from wheelchair repair to mental health supports are offered during the four hour event, including hair styling, hearing exams, healthcare supports, rental & housing help, employment services, voicemail access, connections to legal advocates and more.

Navigating the system can seem overwhelming, especially if you are living on the edge. Where do you go for jobs, literacy training, emergency rental help or bike repair? Summer Connect brings it all together so guests can make strides in one day that might normally take days, weeks or even months.

Some of the feedback at Summer Connect.

Tweets from other service providers and ministries indicate the value they place on Summer Connect:

  • First United Church

Great meeting Kelly from the while hanging out ‘s Summer Connect Fest! I really love our neighbourhood. ^KL

  • Vancouver Rent Bank

“We’re a small program & Summer Connect allows us to make new meaningful & let ppl know we are here to support” Rent Bank

  • Salvation Army Harbour Light

Congrats and thank you to on another successful ! What a great day meeting people and sharing resources!

It was also good to see UGM recognized by Nick Eagland in The Province June 10. Here is a brief portion from Union Gospel Mission wilderness program helps men overcome addiction:

‘Expeditions’ has led hundreds of former substance users into the wilderness since its inception in the spring of 2013. Back then, Jason van Dyk, a graphic designer at Union Gospel Mission, pitched an approach to recovery that would take men outdoors to connect with nature, each other and a higher power.

Van Dyk worked with addictions counsellor Jack Wagner and other staff to develop the Expeditions program for male participants and graduates of the mission’s recovery program. Expeditions takes as many as a dozen men canoeing and backpacking for up to 10 days, twice a year, and also offers several overnight camping excursions and hikes. Participants have tackled the West Coast Trail, Black Tusk and Bowron Lake.

Go here for the full story, including touching personal testimonies from Tom Sauls and Jonas Granander.

Beyond 150

The Mosaic Church community, along with many partnering organizations and churches of the Downtown Eastside, is hosting a street party celebration this Sunday (June 18) to honour National Aboriginal Day. They are inviting others to join them in celebration of Indigenous cultures and history.

Beyond 150, which will run from 2 – 6 pm, will include a salmon barbecue, First Nations dancers and drummers, children’s activities and artisans booths. Princess Avenue will be closed between Pender and Hastings for the event.

Mosaic is still in need of a few things to ensure the event runs smoothly:

  • A piece of AstroTurf approximately 20 ft x 20 ft
  • A large propane BBQ for cooking salmon
  • A donor to cover the cost of hiring the Metis dancers – approximately $450
  • Donations to cover honorariums for pow-wow dancers, drummers and musicians – approximately $1,800

If you are able to assist, email Silas Krabbe: silas@themosaic.org

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These were the participants in Summer Connect:

1. PEDAL – Our Community Bikes
2. BC SPCA
3. Mission Possible
4. EMBERS
5. Binners’ Project
6. JACS Vancouver
7. UGM Alcohol and Drug Recovery Program
8. Vancouver Recovery Club
9. Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Society
10. First Nations Mental Health, Aboriginal Health, VCH
11. Vancouver Native Health Society
12. UGM Women and Families Centre
13. PACE Society
14. Atira Housing Outreach / Health & Safety
15. WISH Drop-In Centre Society
16. Vancouver Women’s Health Collective
17. Crystal Hearing
18. Street Outreach Initiative
19. The Kettle Society
20. Evelyn Saller Centre
21. Carnegie Community Centre
22. Salvation Army – Harbour Light
23. First United Church
24. DTES Neighbourhood House
25. Quest Food Exchange
26. DTES Literacy Roundtable / UBC Learning Exchange
27. DTES Kitchen Tables
28. Disability Alliance BC
29. Wheelin’ Mobility and BC Rehab Foundation
30. Whole Way House Society
31. Lookout- Al Mitchel Place
32. Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation
33. BC Housing
34. Beauty Night Society
35. Megaphone Magazine
36. Vancouver Rent Bank
37. People’s Law School
38. BC Poverty Reduction Coalition
39. Vancouver Coastal Health – Foot care
40. Hair stylist
41. Atira Legal Advocates STV (Stop Violence)
42. Community Voice Mail @ Lu’ma Native Housing Society
43. Gospel Mission Society
44. Pier Health Resource Centre

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