Community Coffee Talks

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“Community Coffee Talks” is a partnership-based initiative that aims to build trust and encourage dialogue amongst the City of Vancouver and individuals experiencing homelessness on the DTES. Our goal is to meet residents where they’re at and involve the community in the decision-making process so that they can see in real-time the way that democracy works.

School:

SFU

Course:

Diveristy and Equity in Cities (URB 463)

Instructors:

  • Aude-Claire Fourot

City of Vancouver:

  • Danielle Johnston

Term:

Fall 2022

Summary

“Community Coffee Talks” is a partnership-based program where City Staff will meet with the community on a regular basis. They will be held at various locations across the DTES, including shelters and other organizations. During Coffee Talks, community members can discuss their needs and propose solutions for improving their community.

A Community Coffee Talks Coordinator will be hired to ensure consistency in scheduling these events. A DTES-specific Advisory Committee will be formed prior to the first Coffee Talk. The role of this committee will be to attend meetings and take suggestions, which they will then present to Council. Not all projects will become active projects due to budget and other such factors, but the voice of DTES residents will remain heard at the Council level. To make attendees aware of this, the City of Vancouver will set parameters and a budget for projects that are most likely to come to fruition and present these parameters and budget to attendees. The DTES Advisory Committee will discuss proposed solutions with the City Council, and subsequent Coffee Talks will be held to provide progress updates to residents so that they know exactly where and how the money is spent.

Research shows that when marginalized communities feel that their social needs are being met, they are more likely to get involved in the democratic process. This, in turn, may lead to greater voter turnout in the DTES. Community members who attend will be compensated for their time and expertise. Each attendee will also receive a take-away bag of groceries. Partnerships with food banks and grocery stores will be established so that attendees can be provided with care packages. These would include grocery store gift cards, non-perishables, and items such as blankets and socks.

And, of course, there will be coffee!

 

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