Toilet accessibility in the Downtown Eastside (DTES)
In the Downtown Eastside (DTES), there has been a call for more public toilets. Homelessness, drug addiction and mental illness place even more pressure on the limited resources that are available, and result in laneways being used as alternatives to public toilets.
Partnership to provide relief
Staff teamed with community partner, the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU) in an effort to:
- Reduce the amount of faeces in the area by encouraging the use of public toilets
- Address the need for safe, clean washrooms available in the evening hours
- Ensure that the public toilets at Oppenheimer Park are safe and open to the public on Sundays and Mondays when staff are not at the park
- Monitor the two Automated Public Toilets (APTs) in the neighbourhood into the evening
- Inform patrons at bars and other establishments about the extended hours of five washroom locations in the DTES
- Convince people likely to use alleys as toilets to use publicly-provided toilets instead
The project assisted in building a healthier and cleaner street environment by encouraging longer toilet operating hours and encouraging and promoting better maintenance of washrooms in single room occupancy hotels (SROs) and social housing.