Partners & Supporters

The 1,800 children and youth living in the Downtown Eastside face challenges most Canadians don’t have to deal with. Drug use, crime, and homelessness are prevalent. The median household income is $13,691 compared to $47,299 for the rest of Vancouver. In the community, 21 per cent of families live on income assistance; 22 per cent are single-parent families; and 66 per cent of parents worry about putting dinner on the table.

The high school graduation rate for the Strathcona neighbourhood of Vancouver, including the Downtown Eastside, is lower than the provincial average and the lowest of all Vancouver communities. According to the most recent census data only 41 per cent of young adults (20-34) in Strathcona have a high school diploma.

The community has mobilized to address the issue through the Graduation Strategy made up of key community stakeholders of which the Vancouver Board of Education is a vital partner. The DTES community is taking bold steps to change the future for young people. The Pathways Vancouver Program is delivered through Pacific Community Resources Society with the goal of putting the DTES on the Graduation Nation map.

Placed-based thinking is a strategic way of looking at how we structure and undertake planning in our communities that acknowledges unique and complex local realities. This approach mobilizes resources and capacity to be responsive to local needs and aspirations. Communities such as Vancouver’s inner city with pervasive social exclusion, poverty, and poor health, compound the issues faced by already vulnerable groups including Aboriginal peoples, immigrants, single parent families and the elderly. Place-based approaches work to actively engage citizens by removing barriers, and promoting people-centered, participatory service delivery and economic involvement, creating comprehensive, holistic and integrated solutions targeting both individual and broader community needs. Placed-based thinking is currently being adopted in many places around the world, with evidence mounting for its effectiveness as a framework for community coordination and planning.

One spring day in 1998, some kids were kicking a soccer ball around a local park, accompanied by one of the kids’ fathers.  A man approached them and told them to leave; the park was reserved for soccer clubs with permits.

The father asked how the local kids could join such a club – and was told it would cost $125 per child, and each family would also have to help out with equipment, coaching and transportation. As the kids watched, a stream of cars arrived, and two teams from the affluent West Side piled out, pulled on their uniforms and cleats, and literally took the field.

Although 75% of Vancouver’s kids lived in the Eastside, the city’s sports programs mainly served the West Side kids. The problem wasn’t just money. An inner-city sports program would also need coaches, equipment and places to train and play. It would have to overcome ethnic and cultural issues, language barriers and much more. In fact, it would require that the community itself develop new skills and strengths, and build new partnerships.

East Van Soccer started up in 1999 and by 2002, this major partnership initiative called itself “Moresports”.  Moresports has continued to evolve organically in the lower mainland where kids and families need it.  

Moresports now includes 12 hubs across 24 Metro Vancouver neighbourhoods with thousands of participants.