Downtown Eastside Project

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ISBN: 978-0-662-69768-8

Table of Contents

Downtown Eastside in Vancouver is a community facing serious crime and social problems. The Downtown EastsideProject was launched in 1999 to address the roots of crime and victimization. This project involved many partners working in collaboration. The official project ended in 2004 and its legacy continues through the on-going collaborative work by the City of Vancouver.

The purpose of the project was to mobilize the Downtown Eastside community and build capacity among residents, agencies, and business representatives to address some of the known risk factors for involvement in crime and victimization such as alcohol and drug use, inadequate and unsafe housing, lack of appropriate role models for youth, poverty and family issues.

The Downtown Eastside Project was designed for Aboriginal people, children, youth and women who were living in this inner-city neighborhood, as well as the service providers working there. It consisted of five main components, each with specific goals:

Project assessment

Both process and outcome evaluations were conducted. The evaluation sought to assess the contribution of community development and mobilization in building capacity among residents and at-risk populations living in this inner-city neighborhood. The hypothesis was that increased community capacity would lead to more integration of at-risk populations and more opportunities for social inclusion and the reduction of crime and victimization.

The evaluation followed a participatory model. The evaluator facilitated planning with an Evaluation Advisory Committee made up of community representatives. A crime and victimization survey was administered which involved 1,281 residents and visitors. Focus groups comprising approximately sixty participants were held. Interviews were also conducted with 150 community and government representatives and 158 residents completed a community perceptions survey.

Key findings

The process evaluation revealed that:

The outcome evaluation found that:

Lessons learned

The Downtown Eastside Project generated a number of important lessons, for example:

Conclusion

Although community capacity building projects are difficult to evaluate rigorously, the results of the Downtown Eastside Project indicate that many residents felt that the Project had successfully addressed many of the risk factors associated with crime and victimization.

Overall the Downtown Eastside Project has been effective inincreasing resident's involvement in community decision-making and First Nation's participation in activities to increase community safety and well-being.

For more information or to receive a copy of the final evaluation report please contact the National Crime Prevention Centre at 1-800-830-3118.

You can also visit the City of Vancouver's website.

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