After nine years of finding work for Downtown Eastside residents, a specialized employment centre was forced to close its doors on March 30 due to budget cuts.
The provincial government has ceased funding for Pathways Information Centre at Main and Hastings after the decision was made to open and provide for a provincial employment centre on West Hastings.
“We’ve been struggling for six months … but there’s a lot of demand out there for the foundation or donation money. We don’t think that we’re going to be able to find sufficient funds to make our project work,” said Ross Gentleman of Pathways.
Gentleman believes the new centre won’t be able to meet the needs of the 3,000 DTES residents Pathways helps out every year.
“The kind of services that we offer at Pathways are very particular to a low-income neighbourhood,” he said. “The neighbourhood has a high concentration of people who are poor, disabled and in transition. They need more support than a conventional employment centre.
“The WorkBC centre is funded on a performance payment method, so that people who require a lot of services are not going to get the help they need.”
However, Gentleman anticipates the government will realize its mistake within the next few months.