Economic Revitalization

Economic Revitalization

Inner-city economic revitalization contributes to community social well-being, making it safer and healthier for those who visit, live and work in the neighbourhood. Economic development requires adequate housing and health services and a safe environment for business and residents. The Vancouver Agreement (VA), and its business and community partners, support the principle of “revitalization without displacement,” meaning that community growth must complement the needs and aspirations of long-time residents and businesses while welcoming new people and businesses.

Under the guidance of the Economic and Employment Task Teams, the Vancouver Agreement developed a Downtown Eastside (DTES) Economic Revitalization Plan subsequently adopted by the City of Vancouver.

The goals of the plan are:

  • Increase demand for DTES products and services
  • Strengthen the capacity of local suppliers
  • Increase employment opportunities

The VA has committed $13.8 million to achieve these economic revitalization goals. Some of the key investments are:

BOB (Building Opportunities with Business) is a non-profit organization located in the DTES.  Its purpose is to strengthen the inner city’s community capacity; identify and capitalize on untapped business opportunities in the inner city; improve employment opportunities for inner-city residents; and increase investment and visitors to the DTES.  Since 2006, BOB has connected 320 people to employment. Since 2007, BOB has supported 160 businesses and secured $26.5 million in purchases from inner-city suppliers.

EMBERS (Eastside Movement for Business and Economic Renewal Society) is an agency located in the DTES that delivers business support programs and employment training to local residents. VA support helped to build and stabilize the organization and its business model while providing funding for three different programs: Business Development Support, Entrepreneurship Training, and Micro-enterprise Development. Since 2002 EMBERS has:  provided business services to 514 people; helped 126 people to complete business training courses; provided assistance to 115 people to either start or expand their businesses; helped launch or expand more than 35 businesses; and assisted 40 people in finding meaningful employment.

Heart of the City Festival celebrates the people, culture and history of the DTES. Although it welcomes people from throughout Vancouver, the Heart of the City Festival was specifically developed to celebrate and build collaboration, cohesiveness and revitalization within the local community. With a focus on supporting sustained change in the DTES, since its inception in 2004 the annual festival has created cultural bridges between neighbourhood communities, fostered community pride and provided a continuum of employment opportunities for local residents.

See more Economic Revitalization projects.