Promise Tracker: DTES Emergency Task Force
✔️ Initiate a safe and accessible supply of drugs for those at high risk, expand safe consumption sites and create new fentanyl alert testing facilities
Kennedy Stewart's first action as Mayor was to launch an Emergency Overdose Task force. This task force identified 31 recommendations to address the overdose crisis.
Since then, Mayor Kennedy Stewart has fought to expand overdose prevention sites despite NPA opposition, lobbyed for the expansion of safe supply, and worked to make Vancouver the first jurisdiction in Canada to adopt drug decriminalization.
✔️ Develop initiatives to provide support for all front-line workers
In April 2021, the Drug Overdose Response Team, a joint initiative of Vancouver Coastal Health and Vancouver Fire Rescue Services to connect overdose patients with health care recieved permanent funding of $180,000, after a successful pilot initiated under the Mayor Emergency Overdose Task force.
In addition, as part of the Mayor's COVID-19 pandemic response, we worked with demonstrated a crucial need for front line workers in the DTES to receive more training and PPE. The COV also created a PPE distribution centre in the DTES were front line workers and resident could access donated supplies such as mask, gloves and sanitizer etc.
✔️Identify new substance substitution programs and delivery methods to move people away from drug use.
Vancouver is the only major city in Canada where access to safer supply is rolling out. The latest win is a facility called SAFER, run by Vancouver Coastal Health which opened in April 2022 with the full support of Mayor Kennedy Stewart.
🎯 Establish more accessible and low threshold addiction treatment
Thanks to ongoing advocacy, Vancouver was part of a landmark expansion in addictions treatment and recovery services including new beds at St. Paul's Hospital and others in the Downtown Eastside.
Mayor Kennedy Stewart also led the approval of a new BC supportive housing project at East 1st and Clark which will provide much-needed homes as well as a specialized health centre providing addictions treatment programs.