The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — Driving through the night along the seamy streets of
Vancouver’s notorious Downtown Eastside, three women in the large van
dispense coffee, juice and conversation, along with condoms and clean
needles, to sex-trade workers.
But funding for the Mobile Access Project, which began in 2003 with a
converted ambulance, depends on the provincial government and there’s been
no promise to renew the money when it runs out at the end of April.
“So far not so good,” says Kate Gibson, executive-director of the WISH
Drop-in Centre Society that operates the van in partnership with the
Prostitution Alternatives Counselling and Education Society (PACE).
The van used to get funding from the federal and provincial governments and
the City of Vancouver.
But for the last two years it’s been solely dependent on the province for
the $265,000 needed annually to operate the vehicle and pay staff.