The Restart (restorative justice through art) program was brought to our neighbourhood by the Grandview-Woodland Community Policing Centre. When a problem as pervasive as graffiti on Commercial Drive appears to be intractable, tackling it in a context of restorative justice seemed like common sense to the GWCPC. Youth involved in graffiti are part of our community, and it is our community’s responsibility to find a solution to benefit both the taggers and the neighbourhood.
Restart was created 5 years ago by 2 members of the Vancouver Police Anti-Graffiti Unit, Constables Valerie Spicer and Elizabeth Miller, who realized that arresting and charging teenage graffiti vandals did not help them leave the path that drew so many of them into additional criminal behaviour, did not help their victims and did not help our society.
St. James Community Services Society is a broad-based social service agency providing care and support today for the most marginalized and vulnerable, while also working to transform communities for the future. For 50 years we have been making a difference in the lives of people in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, throughout the city, and across the Lower Mainland.
We care for those who face homelessness, poverty and isolation, mental illness and addictions, as well as chronic and terminal illness. Our team of 300 dedicated staff provide a spectrum of crisis, housing, personal care, financial support, and end-of-life services to over 2,000 people a year.
Georgia Straight article on St. James
The SBIA facilitates a mural program to beautify and help create a positive image for our area and support our local artists. Murals have proven to be an excellent deterrent against graffiti.
Vancouver Native Housing Society (VNHS), founded in 1984, provides safe, secure and affordable housing on Vancouver’ s Eastside. Its original and continued mandate is to serve the urban Aboriginal population but over the last number of years has expanded its mandate to include innovative housing solutions for other marginalized populations, including: seniors and youth, persons living with mental illness, women at risk, the homeless and those at risk of homelessness.
As the Society has grown so has its vision of the housing continuum and the Society has adopted a social enterprise model to build economic and individual capacity for those that it serves. For more information on some innovative initiatives sponsored by the Society please visit: Urban Aboriginal Fair Trade Gallery, the Vancouver Healing Lodge and the Affordable Homeownership project.
CITY OF VANCOUVER