Today, the VPD launched "Vancouver's Social Safety Net: Rebuilding the Broken" a report based on findings and analysis conducted by HelpSeeker Technologies, an Alberta-based private research firm. The VPD’s report and the HelpSeeker data it relies on, are a distraction from the critical, life-limiting conditions that profoundly affect the most vulnerable members of our communities, across Vancouver.
Despite austerity measures imposed by all levels of government, the social safety net remains a collective responsibility, something that has been gained through decades of political, economic, and social struggle and advocacy. The decision of the VPD, an agency that receives more than 20% of the annual city budget, to commission this report undermines efforts to rebuild and maintain what is left of this net. This latest report is a waste of public funds, and Pivot continues to advocate for redistribution of police budgets to upstream solutions based on the leadership of directly impacted communities.
The VPD’s decision to launch this audit, with no mechanisms in place for transparency or accountability to the city of Vancouver illustrates how profoundly removed they are from the community and social services they claim to collaborate with. HelpSeeker’s initial report, with its fraught and inaccurate methodology, undermines individuals and organizations striving to maintain a social safety net despite ongoing austerity and state-manufactured poverty.
While no health, social or community services organization is beyond reproach, we must acknowledge that every non-profit and charitable organization – particularly those operating in the Downtown Eastside – is contending with multiple public health emergencies, zero-vacancy rates for shelter- and pension-rate housing, soaring costs of living, and the continued legacies of settler-colonialism and displacement.
More oversight, accountability needed to tackle Downtown Eastside crisis: Chief Palmer (VPD Press Release, November 9, 2022)
Vancouver’s Social Safety Net REBUILDING THE BROKEN (VPD Report, released November 9, 2022)
HelpSeeker Social Impact Audit (commissioned by the VPD, released November 9, 2022)
Using the law as a catalyst for positive social change, Pivot Legal Society works to improve the lives of marginalized communities.