Vancouver Coastal Health has revealed its plans for three new women-only health services in the Downtown Eastside, including a supervised injection site.
Women make up nearly 40% of residents in the Downtown Eastside and yet are just 27% of the people using the supervised injection site.
That’s according to Bonny Wilson, who is Vancouver Coastal Health’s DTES Vulnerable Women strategy lead.
Wilson says women looking for services face a variety of challenges.
“Some of them have experienced exploitation and violence from some of the people who are attending those programs and seeking services there, so you can imagine how uncomfortable that would be in the same waiting room when you’re feeling unsafe yourself.”
Coastal Health is also rolling out a women’s intensive case management team, and a women’s mobile health services van.
Coast Salish elder Roberta Price has been working on the DTES for years to make health care more accessible for women, and says many of those have not used the services out of fear.
“Our women die rather than receive service when it includes severe disrespect and mistreatment.”
An application for the supervised injection site will be submitted to Health Canada after a location and a partner is found.