DTES, News, Social Enterprise

How many heroin needles have we picked up in the DTES thanks to MP Neighbours?

It’s more than just heroin needles. It’s a host of discarded items, some of them unsanitary, some of them unsightly, some of them just downright dangerous.  Here’s the most recent numbers from Mission Possible (MP Neighbours) on what their community patrols have dealt with. HxBIA is very thankful to have a patrol like this that not only has created jobs for residents, some of whom have overcome or are dealing with barriers to employment, but also seeks to provide an empathic and respectful approach to safety in public spaces and places of business. We’ve committed ourselves to connect as much of our spending power as possible to capacity building and job creating programming in our area, MP Neighbours is a great example of this.

From September 2012 to June 2013

Needles Removed – 2948
Illegal Dumpings Reported – 489
De-Escalated Hostile Situations – 48

These numbers are from part-time patrols as we only have the budget currently to afford this. This is a program stream we hope to expand on though. Another project coming up with Mission Possible is a concentrated public spaces cleaning throughout our area. Once again, because of our budget constraints being in our first few years of operations, we have put consideration into how to use these funds most strategically. Hot spots will be targeted throughout August into September where we can demonstrate what a concentrated cleaning and maintenance program for the entire area would look like. For this pilot we’ve had to approach this with a more concentrated geography and a truncated timeline. We figured it would be best to really show bang for buck and then build on the program stream, rather than spread it out too thin and not see any tangible benefits. We’re also launching a tool library and public spaces stewardship program with the Pigeon Park Street Market.

Aside from sponsoring or organizing some great events this summer (Indian Summer Festival, Central City Fair in the Square, Taste of Hastings Crossing, Victory Square Flower Festival etc.) and several more coming this fall (Word, Vancouver International Film Festival, Living History etc) we’ve been busy advocating through the Local Area Planning Committee for our stakeholders, and for the City to help us shape a more inclusive local economy and deal with many challenges that naturally present themselves to urban communities.  Only three months into our new operating year it has been incredibly busy, and rewarding for the staff and board.

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