Homelessness Action Week & UGM: Unexpected guides give walking tours of an unlikely neighbourhood

VANCOUVER, Oct. 9, 2013 /CNW/ - From Saturday October 12 to Sunday October 20, hundreds of visitors will hit the streets of the Downtown Eastside. Participating in Homelessness Action Week (HAW), they are investing two hours to learn about the neighbourhood and its history, guided by someone who once lived on the streets.

Developed by Union Gospel Mission, in partnership with Mission Possible and with support from the City of Vancouver, the "Eastside Stride" exists to show the beauty, rich history, and diverse groups that comprise the neighbourhood while considering some of the issues that have impacted the area for a long time. It also offers employment to those with barriers in an empowering and dignified manner.

"Most people are aware that Vancouver has a homelessness problem and it's concentrated in the DTES," says Keela Keeping, who works on UGM's Community Engagement team. "There are diverse opinions regarding these issues and the people that live here, but the average person may have very little real knowledge of this community, past or present. If we want sustained solutions to the major issues here, then the DTES needs to be truly embraced as a valued part of Vancouver. And that starts with getting to know the neighbourhood."

Vancouverites can take the tour two ways: guided, in-person or via the audio tour through their cell phone with headphones. To sign-up/more info visit: www.ugm.ca/haw.

To view the full story visit or to learn about Thanksgiving at UGM visit: www.ugm.ca/media (to be posted after 9:00am),

View Video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1fWNANNCuM

SOURCE: Union Gospel Mission

For further information:

Media Contact: Keela Keeping, (604) 996-1417, kkeeping@ugm.ca, Twitter: @UGMUGM.ca

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