Who We Are
Our Place (Promoting Local Access and Community Empowerment) is a collaboration of residents, community-based organizations, and service providers working together in Vancouver’s inner city.
Our Place is currently active in five inner city neighbourhoods: Grandview-Woodland, Mount Pleasant, the Downtown Eastside, Strathcona and Hastings-Sunrise.
- Funding and services are better coordinated, contiguous and leveraged
- Programs and services are accountable to the community they serve
- Greater knowledge and utilization of evidence-based practices among practitioners
- Greater support and resources for children and families in the communities
An open group of partners provides oversight and direction to the many areas of Our Place work. This Table is based on common principles, values, and a mechanism for regular community report out and input process. The Table advises, provides high level coordination, addresses larger place-based and policy issues, and develops terms of reference for strategic areas.
Partners include: Five inner city community centres, neighbourhood houses, the Vancouver Park Board, the Vancouver School Board, Exchange: Inner City, REACH, RICHER, PCRS-Pathways, Vancouver Community College, NICCSS, Watari and many more.
Systemic patterns of exclusion and socioeconomic inequality adversely affect many of those residing in Vancouver’s inner city, contributing to their underrepresentation in local programs and systems and in important decisions that impact them and their community. Indigenous peoples and other vulnerable populations including newcomers, racialized groups, low income residents, and elders often face a similar combination of challenges and report the same feelings of alienation, powerlessness and isolation.
Addressing these complex realities in a holistic and meaningful way requires an approach that focuses on connecting efforts, strengthening existing support networks and offering the right mix of inclusive programs, services and opportunities.
Our Place uses a place-based approach to actively engage citizens by removing barriers and build capacity within neighbourhoods to co-create solutions that target both individual and broader community needs. This often requires renegotiating organizational cultures and changing service-delivery practices to meet local aspirations.
Our Place Strategies
For over ten years, Our Place has supported the development of several broad, intersectoral partnerships in the inner city in an effort to move beyond organizational silos, competition and single issue approaches toward collective impact strategies.
Our Place has formed separate Teams for various strategies including the RICHER Community Health and Social Pediatrics strategy, Reconciliation in Action, The Community Food Strategy, RISE and the Graduation Strategy.
No single government, non-profit, business, individual or organization can meet the needs of everyone in society, but by working in partnership on a large enough scale we believe we can create a tipping point in the cultural, social and economic norms that challenge our community.
Our Place does its best to involve the community in planning and decision-making and supports residents to have a voice by providing resources such as staff support and space to resident groups, community organizing, and advocacy work. However, these efforts are often piecemeal, under-resourced and reactionary to top-down processes of consultation and decision-making.
The reality is that in order to overcome the entrenched cultures and systems that have created the current situation in Vancouver’s inner city, we need more formalized mechanisms for community and resident accountability and neighbourhood self-determination.
This is why we are launching the Inner City Assembly, intended to be a comprehensive community-based governance model to help ensure that public policy, its processes and resulting programs and services, build capacity at the local level, are linked to the lived experiences of individuals, and aligned to the reality of place.