Over the past five years, people who use drugs (PWUD) living in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside (DTES) have increasingly experienced eviction due to urban redevelopment. A lack of understanding about the nature of evictions and how evictions shape health and social outcomes, such as drug-related risks (e.g., syringe-sharing), health access (e.g., HIV care) and drug scene engagement (e.g., drug dealing), remains a significant barrier to developing evidence-based housing policies and targeted public health interventions to address this issue. Building upon ongoing collaborations and community consultations, the Urban Health Research Initiative (UHRI) of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CFE), Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU), and Pivot Legal Society have come together to propose this community-based participatory research (CBPR) study to examine evictions and how they influence health and social outcomes among PWUD in the DTES. This study will employ participatory methods, including peer-led qualitative interviews and innovative qualitative geographic information systems (GIS) data collection, to generate unique insights into the impacts of evictions, and will supplement these methods with legal analyses undertaken by Pivot Legal. In doing so, this study will generate public health and socio-legal evidence to inform the policy and programmatic response to evictions, while also equipping PWUD with legal advocacy tools to protect their rights.
Ms. DJ Larkin, Pivot Legal Society; Dr. Will Small, SFU; Dr. Thomas Kerr, BC Center for Excellence in HIV/AIDS; Dr. Lindsay Richardson, UBC