Each year in mid-October, we join communities and organizations throughout the region to mark Homelessness Action Week.
Homelessness Action Week grants
Community and grassroots events and projects are an important part of Homelessness Action Week.
We provide grants to non-profit organizations to host events and organize projects related to Homelessness Action Week that:
- Help Vancouver residents who are homeless
- Create awareness of homelessness
- Engage citizens on solutions to homelessness
- Decrease the stigma associated with homelessness and the exclusion experienced by Vancouverites experiencing homelessness
What the week is about
The week’s purpose is to raise public awareness on issues of homelessness and rally local solutions.
Homelessness Action Week is organized by the Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley Council of Community Homelessness Tables. The council is a coalition of community organizations and all levels of government
Events and initiatives
We are a proud participant in Homelessness Action Week, and support events and initiatives during the week and over the year, including:
- Homeless Connect events, where attendees can get everything from health care assistance to bike repairs to a nutritious meal
- Events hosted by local non-profit organizations
2020 HAW grant recipients
The City’s Homelessness Action Week (HAW) grant program, established in 2009, supports a variety of community-led positive and engaging initiatives and events that take place in Vancouver during HAW and throughout the year.
Grant funds contribute to uniting Vancouverites in a common goal to raise awareness about and create solutions to the issues of homelessness and to support organizations providing direct services to homeless individuals.
On December 9, 2020, City Council approved fifteen HAW Grants.
View the types of projects that have received a Homelessness Action Week grant over the past 2 years by reviewing Council reports at 2019 Homelessness Action Week grants and 2019 Homelessness Action Week grants PDF file (168 KB).
AMCS Homelessness Action Week: DTES
Absolute homeless people that hang out on the streets of Vancouver. People that are immobilized by their addiction and cannot walk up to the union gospel to stand in line for hours to be fed. We walk the alleys to find the most vulnerable people. Giving them warm meals and handing out warm jackets and toques, gloves, and mitts. Covid19 care packages with facemasks, hand sanitizers and gloves. Strathcona park, get in contact with people that are living in the tent city to help find housing. Make sure staff are safe and able to support people that do not have the means to find housing on their own. Applying for assistance or finding funds to afford to pay rent and sustain housing. Grandview park, where there are more indigenous people are reaching different parks in Vancouver. Sleeping in tents and parkades that they can find to keep warm and feel safe. Giving resources- information packages to help support people to get into warm housing. Help give information and phone numbers for housing supports in the DTES.
Homelessness Action Week: West End
We will host engagement activities and avenues where neighbours can get factual answers based on best practices from public health experts, housing advocates, and people with lived experience. Examples of communication and multimedia content include: a literacy toolkit with best practices, online resources, social media campaign, printed collateral, and virtual sessions. As a result of COVID-19, virtual sessions will provide space for community members to ask frank questions and receive knowledgeable and empathetic answers from experts in the field. . By hosting engagement activities such as virtual dialogues, we imagine all participants will identify commonalities and ideally increased empathy towards all neighbours regardless of housing status
Association of Neighbourhood Houses of British Columbia External web site, opens in new tab
South Vancouver Community Hub for Homelessness
The purpose of the South Vancouver Virtual Community Hub for Homelessness is to offer direct housing navigation services for individuals along with training for businesses, service providers, and residents, along with collaborative resource development work with organizations to create housing solutions in the south side of Vancouver.
Extreme Cold Weather Outreach During the Pandemic
When the temperature drops to 2 degrees or lower, we shall go out to the street at night to give out things that will keep those who sleep on the street warm. The things we plan to give out include long waterproof coats (that is transformable into sleeping bags), winter sleeping bags, blankets, hand and toe warmers, gloves, etc. Our primary population is those who sleep on the street. Because of COVID-19, much less people will be able to sleep inside shelters (due to social distancing requirements). Although the government has relocated many to hotels, there are still a lot of people sleeping on the street. This project is to save the lives of those who will be shivering or frozen in the cold winter nights, if left by themselves without any help. We keep them warm by providing them with some of the items listed above.
The Connect Vancouver Foundation proposes a new micro-project explicitly focused on facilitating ongoing and new employment opportunities for homeless and marginalized groups in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Due to COVID-19, our organization has seen an unprecedented rise in demand for our services. Connect Vancouver has identified a series of organizations needing our programs. This initiative would focus specifically on providing free cell phones and cell phone bills to homeless populations in Vancouver who are currently employed part-time or are actively seeking employment. The project will involve collaborating with local tempagencies and organizations that facilitate employment opportunities and are working directly with Vancouver's homeless population. The project recognizes the unpredictable nature of parttime employment and the importance of cell phones and active phone number to facilitate communication with employers. The project aims to provide 20-25 individuals with smartphone devices and a minimum of six months of free cell phone bills. The project would also collect metrics on employment opportunities gained or maintained by using the cell phones provided. This project's target demographic focuses on multiple-barrier individuals (Indigenous, LGBTQ+, Mental Illness, Immigrants/Refugees, Women) who are currently homeless or recently experienced homelessness, above the age of 25 that now have part-time employment or are actively seeking employment opportunities.
Assessing and addressing the impact of COVID-19 on DTES homeless woman
Would like to couple completion of last year’s project with an assessment of how the pandemic is impacting homelessness and homeless women in this community. The homelessness survey initiated last year, would be revised to include questions relating to COVID19 impacts and if/how the needs of the homeless community has changed over the course of the year. The final report of the project is meant to give both DEWC and the City insights into the needs of women of the community and may offer insights into how the pandemic has changed their perspectives.
DUDES Club Society External web site, opens in new tab
DUDES Street Squad COVID Outreach
Coordinate and host three workshops on how to access temporary and permanent housing in The proposed project is a full-scale launch of the DUDES Street Squad (DSS) pilot program to meet the exponential increase in demand driven by the COVID-19 crisis. After the launch, DSS would run three days per week (as opposed to one), relying on 12 peer outreach volunteers and 1 peer facilitator volunteer. Furthermore, we are proposing an increase in the geographic area served by DSS from the current three-block range on East Hastings Street to other key neighbourhoods in East Vancouver including Strathcona Park (which has reached out several times to request DSS presence), and Grandview-Woodlands around DUDES Clubs' new office space. Currently, the DSS runs as a pilot program one day per week, and engages four men, who are led by a peer facilitator, to do outreach along East Hastings Street.
Foundation for Social Change External web site, opens in new tab
The purpose of this project is to engage the general public in a conversation about homelessness and the dialogue will be led by our participants with lived experience. Our Lived Experience Advisory Panel (LEAP) is curious about how they could debunk the myths, disrupt the stereotypes and promote a less stigmatized understanding of those who live in homelessness, especially those recently experiencing homelessness. Recently FSC has gained much attention through the New Leaf project and there is now an opportunity to leverage this and assist our participants in using their voices and ideas to demystify and correct stereotypes that exist amongst the general public about people experiencing homelessness.
Gallery Gachet Society External website, opens in new tab
HART in Print
HART In Print is a process-based art publishing project emerging from Gallery Gachet’s
outreach programming in supportive housing - Home Is Where the Art Is (HART). With funding from the Vancouver Foundation and the BC Arts Council as well as through community partnership with The Capilano Review (TCR), the HART program addresses social determinants of mental illness, particularly social isolation and mental health stigma, for artist residents of non-profit supportive housing in the downtown eastside of Vancouver. Specifically, the program offers biweekly art workshops, as well as resource and skill sharing, artistic feedback, and social connection, to 10 artists living in supportive housing provided by RainCity Housing and Support Society. Three of the participants are connected through RainCity’s outreach support for LGBT2SQ+ young adults facing housing precarity. The HART program is coordinated by Gallery
Gachet programming staff Manuel Axel Strain with project management by Kendra Place.
Hives for Humanity Society External web site, opens in new tab
What does home mean to you?
Our project will take the form of a campaign to build empathy and understanding around people who are experiencing homelessness, working to destigmatize the experience of homelessness, to build on our shared connection to nature, and concepts of home and belonging. We have built a campaign outline with existing marketing tools that are available, the content will be built through consultation with community members who have lived experience of homelessness.
Our community members, through our gardens and beekeeping projects and programs, relationships we have with ceremonial leaders and community advocates, and with residents in Modular Housing projects, will be engaged in the design and messaging of this work, and have already been helping to develop the concept, which started as an idea to put a photo of our gardeners up on the marketing billboard that is in our Hastings Folk Garden site. This project will deepen this consultation, through relationships built around gardens and bees, to ask our members: what does home mean to you? Where do you feel belonging? What do you want people to know about your experience of homelessness and finding home.
Pedal Foundation External web site, opens in new tab
Pedals for Raincity: Pandemic Response
Based on the success of previous years, this intergenerational project involves Grade 4 students, ‘The Vivian provides supported housing for 24 at-risk, chronically homeless women. It is the first minimal barrier housing program in Vancouver specifically designed for women living with concurrent mental illness, addiction and other challenges. The women of the Vivian cannot afford their own bikes. Due to the pandemic, many of them are being advised to avoid public transit due pre-existing medical conditions. This project will provide a fleet of bicycles for the women at The Vivian to borrow. We have already provided 3 bikes to them, but are looking for support to get them 4 more bikes along with the appropriate accessories such as lights, locks, and helmets. The bikes will be delivered early in 2021, and come with the required maintenance service later in the year to ensure the fleet is in safe riding condition. By ensuring that these women have bikes we are ensuring they have access to transportation.
Renfrew/ Collingwood Seniors Society External web site, opens in new tab
Direct Social Services
The Intergenerational Connections program aims to create awareness of social issues relevant to marginalized seniors among youth in the community. . Through various volunteering projects, two student groups from Nootka Elementary and four student groups from Windermere Secondary will explore topics such as homelessness, impacts of poverty, food security, stigma, discrimination, and social responsibility. All students will practice skill development through multiple art projects, letter writing and knitting projects. The grade 10 and 11 students will be provided with specific learning materials and in class instruction on community involvement and the role of social planning as part of their leadership career education. For the seniors, the focus of the finished art projects will be to provide emotional connection, reduce isolation and create greater understanding between youth and marginalized seniors. In addition, we will support seniors by providing holiday gifts that will be customized by student artwork. Due to COVID restrictions, meal delivery and typical interactive programs between students and seniors can no longer take place. However, by shifting our focus to the classroom environment, we have quadrupled our student participation levels and aim to introduce concepts of community involvement and social determinants of health.
Housing Application Days
We will partner with various housing providers to host Application Days at our Kay’s Place location. This will support older adults to complete applications to various housing providers, thereby breaking down a barrier they may face to accessing appropriate housing.
Working Gear Clothing Society External web site, opens in new tab
Increasing the capacity and sustainability of Working Gear’s Barbershop Program
The goal of this project is to increase the capacity of Working Gear’s barbershop with the hopes of solidifying long-term sustainability for this community. This project will endeavour to get the barbershop back on its feet post-Covid-19, by increasing the hours of availability. By paying our barber volunteers a stipend, not only would we be able to alleviate some of the financial burdens our barbers incur by volunteering with us, but it also ensures that Working Gear maintains its mandate of alleviating poverty and not causes it for our volunteers. As BC begins to reopen, which includes Working Gear’s Barbershop, the demand for hygiene and personal body products along with haircuts is at an all time high. Before COVID-19, Working Gear was already struggling to meet the needs of our clients for hair services. We now are in an even more dire situation after COVID-19. We are requesting a sum of $3,000 dollars, which will be used to provide a small stipend for our barbers.
WePress Community Arts Space Society (dba WePress) External website, opens in new tab
Information Sharing, and Employment Opportunities
This project will help meet the immediate needs of the unhoused and precariously housed during the pandemic while working to connect them to services and build communities of care. We will coordinate the preparation of 3800+ meals/week for 6 weeks by 8 community kitchens (total 23,830+ meals) by: 1) Preparing 200 hot lunches/day, 5 days/week at the Vancouver Japanese Language School & Japanese Hall’s (VJLS-JH) kitchen with a 5-person team, including 2 paid low-income community organizers with lived experience (peers); 2) Coordinate the distribution of WePress meals with our partner organizations; and 3) Support partner organizations to prepare and distribute meals (7 other groups). Our partner organizations are groups led by Indigenous people and people with lived experience of poverty or who work closely with them. In addition to feeding people who are homeless or housing insecure, the outreach through meal distribution provides social connection and opportunities to provide information about housing and other services, PPE, and other supplies. The regular employment provided through meal preparation and distribution will provide social inclusion, personal fulfilment, and the independence and dignity that comes when people have the income to make their own choices.