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 […]

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 […]

Thank you for making this an amazing Christmas!

A message from Amanda Burrows, Executive Director: I’d like to say a heartfelt thank you to you—our community of values-aligned supporters—for joining us this Christmas to make an impact on the Downtown Eastside. I’m delighted to share that this has been our biggest Christmas campaign ever, and it’s thanks to you. Together, for our programs […]

Canada supports 103 new affordable homes in Vancouver at 320 E Hastings

FIRST UNITED Executive Director Amanda Burrows (centre) pictured with Vancouver City Councillors Lenny Zhou, Rebecca Bligh, Lisa Dominato, Mike Klassen, and Christine Boyle, Lu’ma Native Housing Society President Dave Baspaly, and Vancouver-Mount Pleasant MLA Joan Phillip. Photo by Maxine Bulloch. Vancouver, British Columbia, November 6, 2023 Construction is underway on 103 units for Indigenous residents and […]

A Year of the FIRST Food Truck

“We’ve had community members tell us, ‘It’s amazing that you’re still able to provide food while your building is being redeveloped,” shared Cristien Donhuysen, Program Manager.  It’s been over a year since we’ve launched our FIRST Food Truck, which provides free meals to Downtown Eastside community members every weekday at lunchtime. Through the food truck, […]

Calls for Justice This Advent Season

This Christmas season, we invite you to participate in Advent through the theme of justice—specifically to begin the work of Call for Justice 18.17 from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Call 18.17 states: “We call upon all governments, service providers, and educators to fund and support the re-education of […]

Sole Comfort

Over 20 years ago, Bruce Cowburn, former FIRST UNITED staff member, was brought to tears when he witnessed our Foot Care Program in action for the first time. Bruce described the sight, as quoted in Hope Lives Here: A History of Vancouver’s First United Church by Bob Burrows, saying: “There was a [community member] playing […]

The Road to Redevelopment

Timeline In 2017, community engagement, redevelopment and capital campaign feasibility studies set the stage for an incredibly ambitious project— the redevelopment of our site at 320 E Hastings. Five years later, site work got underway 2022 April– Street Use and Salvage & Abatement permits are received, clearing the way for preliminary work to begin on […]