Study on Housing Needs of Single Women in the Downtown Eastside

Publisher:  Society for Women's Residences, c/o Marg Segal, Vancouver, Canada
Year Published:  1980  
Pages:  29pp  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX2232

After a 1979 meeting of the Vancouver Urban Core Community Workers, a group of women workers decided to form a non-profit society - the "Society for Women's Residences".

Abstract:  After a 1979 meeting of the Vancouver Urban Core Community Workers, a group of women workers decided to form a non-profit society - the "Society for Women's Residences". Since that time, the group has been pursuing the development of housing options for single women in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. This study identifies the need to which the Society is now responding with the construction of a new residence.

It begins by pointing to a variety of other studies, such as the 1979 study by the Downtown Eastside Residents Association, which illustrated the grim housing conditions for most people in the area. The largest part of the population is men (75%) and 90% of the people in the area are dependent on government assistance for their income. Inthis context, women face an extremely harsh and difficult life. The average age of death for women in the Downtown Eastside is 54 years old as opposed to age 72 for the rest of city. (There is little difference in the average age of death between men of the area and those in rest of Vancouver).

Through the recounting of the 19 personal interviews in the study, the authors document the poor repair of rooms and the harassment of women by men in the rooms and hotels. One woman reported that she would only take baths in the common facilities after everyone was asleep for fear of harassment. Through the interviews and a questionnaire of sixty-five other women, the authors discovered that most of the women were hoping for self-contained units that would also have 24 house live-in support in the building. They recommended that this type of housing take priority over smaller, more communal residences, as the society responds to housing needs.

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