A beloved Downtown Eastside art centre, where the mentally ill create art and photography, now faces an uncertain future, after the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority axed its funding.
Cecily Nicholson with Gallery Gachet on East Cordova says the future looks bleak, as they lose $126,000 dollars annually in funding, half of their total budget.
“We have no choice but to keep this space open in the name of the people who need this space. I am absolutely concerned about the broader community that accesses our space on a daily basis, so I am absolutely concerned about the impact of the mental health of our constituents and our community members.”
The Health Authority says it won’t renew contracts with organizations which don’t have a clear health mandate.
“It would be a big hole, a really big hole that would be near criminal really.”
Tom, a member of the DTES on disability with a neurological impairment, reacting to the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority plans.
Without it…”It would be a hole in the Downtown Eastside; it would be a whole in my life too.”
The Health Authority says organizations now have to have a clear health mandate, or funding won’t be renewed.
It is part of a plan to better integrate health services on the DTES, they say will improve quality of life.