COVID-19: A Message from Our Executive Director

March 14, 2020 As we continue to serve the community we love so much, First United is monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic closely.   We are taking steps to manage and respond to the evolving circumstances of the pandemic, while following public health statements issued by all levels of government, including the World Health Organization. Our […]

This Place for Displaced

When folks come to us for shelter, we want them to feel welcome and that they belong. That was the idea behind commissioning artwork for our shelter— to make it feel more like a home and less like an institution. To achieve this, we commissioned a piece by Downtown Eastside artist Rickie “Sugars” that now […]

Planning for Climate Resiliency

When planning the design of our new building, we couldn’t ignore the current and future effects of climate change, especially considering the impact that we want the building to have in the Downtown Eastside for generations to come. Extreme weather like intense rain and flooding, severe cold snaps, oppressive heat domes, and wildfire smoke poses […]

From Shelter to Housing

Move out days—when shelter residents move out of their shelter pod and into a permanent housing unit—are special ones. Last year, we helped place 18 residents into long-term housing. On move out days, Stephanie Kallstrom, Case Planner, along with a shelter resource worker, help the resident pack up their belongings and drive them to their […]

Indigenous History Month 2024

June is National Indigenous History Month, and National Indigenous People’s Day falls on June 21. To honour and celebrate the contributions of Indigenous People, FIRST UNITED participates in several events, and amplifies Indigenous businesses, writers, and staff. We recently interviewed our Indigenous Outreach Coordinator, Avery Delaney (Blackfoot-Blood Tribe/Kainai) about a recent trip she took to […]

Red Dress Day 2024

Casey Desjarlais, co-founder of Decolonial Clothing Co., and Avery Delaney, Indigenous Outreach Coordinator for FIRST UNITED, with the FIRST UNITED Red Dress Day shirt and tote bag (with illustrations by Shadae Johnson and Iyanla Jensen-Johnson). Today, FIRST UNITED staff will be gathering in honour of Red Dress Day (which takes place on May 5), otherwise […]

BC Government Announces New Measures to Protect Renters

On Tuesday, the BC Government announced a new bill that addresses several recommendations made in FIRST UNITED’s law reform platform “Everyone Needs a Home: Solutions for Preventing Homelessness, Evictions, and Displacement.” We were pleased when BC Housing Minister Ravi Khalon announced proposed amendments to the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA) that include a number of renter […]

Good Friday: The Gift of Grief

A Good Friday message from Lauren Sanders, Indigenous Spiritual Care Chaplain: Hew,niťtena kinwa? anwesėśhėnaLauren nŤėshnēkasote ke xʷməθkʷəy̓əm Sḵwx̱wú7mesh səlilwətaɬ eťtēŤayanÉhé neshnabe nŤew. mshkodani bodéwadmi mine kiikaapoa nŤēbenŤagwïs Hi there! How are you? I’m okay. My name is Lauren. I am the Indigenous Spiritual Care Chaplain at FIRST UNITED. I live on the land of the […]

We received an urgent call. Here’s what we did.

On a frigid afternoon this past December, we received an urgent phone call. There was a mother cradling her newborn, desperately waiting outside Carnegie Outreach Centre to get a birth certificate for her baby. Could FIRST UNITED help spare Mom and baby a long wait in near freezing temperatures? Our response was immediate: yes, we […]

Coldest Night of the Year 2024 Recap

This year’s Coldest Night of the Year was a massive, record-breaking success, and it’s all thanks to this wonderful community who came out to walk in the rain, fundraise, and donate to support the Downtown Eastside. Thanks to the collective effort of everyone who participated, we raised a total of $112,725—and counting! That’s the most […]

BC Government Commits to Protecting Renters from Bad-Faith Evictions

On Wednesday, BC’s Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin delivered the throne speech and drew specific attention to an issue that we’ve been working and advocating on for over a year: protecting renters and ending bad-faith evictions.  Though details on implementation were not provided, the speech promised that action will be taken in this legislative session. Last […]