VANCOUVER, BC, CANADA
Our diverse team lives and works in Vancouver's oldest neighbourhood, the Downtown Eastside; a thriving multi-ethnic collection of small communities. Lying on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish people, it continues to be an urban home to First Nations people, new immigrants, Chinese seniors and other founding cultural groups including Italian, Jewish, British, Scandinavian, Russian and Ukrainian. City policy created push factors that drew and held low-income residents in this neighbourhood and recently, gentrification has played a displacing role on the marginalized. As the gap between rich and poor continues to widen, our neighbourhood is in desperate need of leaders who are equipped to be bridge builders and reconcile cross-class tension. It is also imperative that the voices of those who are being displaced are empowered to be heard and policies created to protect and create more homes and job opportunities for our most vulnerable residents.
Our team is developing local leaders to address these challenges in 4 ways: encouraging thriving multi-ethnic Jesus Communities, advocating for justice through grassroots organizing, creating economic opportunities for our neighbours and strengthening emotional resiliency skills through arts-based activities.
Our neighbourhood has a rich history of advocating for the poor, so we partner with many other organizations to encourage as many opportunities for community transformation as possible. We have initiated an active Economic Empowerment Group comprised of neighbours and partners, which facilitate the Happy Woman Kitchen and the Strathcona Artisans Market in the past. We aim to assist community members in starting small businesses out of existing skills and talent, by encouraging personal development and helping to provide access to resources and networks outside of the neighbourhood.
We also host visitors to our community who are looking for a place to learn about Shalom and to be trained in long-term ministry among the urban poor.