Pubdate: Thu, 24 Mar 2016
Source: Georgia Straight, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2016 The Georgia Straight
Author: Travis Lupick
Cited: Drug Users Resource Centre:


Since 2003, the Drug Users Resource Centre (DURC) has operated as a 
low-barrier drop-in centre for Downtown Eastside residents who face 
extreme marginalization for mental-health and addiction issues. The 
building at East Cordova and Dunlevy run by the Portland Hotel 
Society sees roughly 1,000 clients a day.

But that's about to end or, at the very least, may undergo major changes.

Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) has eliminated the centre's annual 
operating budget of $650,000. Portland Hotel Society interim 
executive director Eamonn O'laocha confirmed the news to the Straight.

"We have been informed by VCH that they will be discontinuing funding 
for DURC," he said.

In a separate interview, VCH spokesperson Gavin Wilson refused to say 
whether or not the DURC would continue to operate. Instead, he drew 
attention to a request for proposals (RFP) that VCH initiated last 
October for a new drop-in centre for mental-health and addiction 
services in the Downtown Eastside.

"That RFP process is still under way," he said. "It is a very 
confidential process."

Asked if the new facility will replace the DURC or stand as an 
additional service provider, Wilson replied, "That would depend on 
who the successful proponent is and what their proposal was."

Asked a second time, Wilson said, "This is to consolidate services."

The RFP describes an operation very similar to what the DURC offers 
today. It even suggests the new drop-in centre could be located "in 
the DTES on a street quieter than Main or Hastings and near Oppenheimer Park".

O'laocha said the Portland Hotel Society did submit a proposal in 
response to the RFP. He declined to comment further. The DURC'S 
director, Kailin See, similarly said she could not answer questions.

Dean Wilson is a long-time advocate for drug-users who volunteers at 
the DURC. He told the Straight he interpreted the RFP as designed to 
see the DURC replaced.

"They took exactly what we have done for the last 10 years and then 
put it out to RFP so anybody can bid for more money," Wilson said. 
"But there should be two. This stuff that we do down here, I don't 
think they'll be prepared at their new centre to deal with."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom