Lease Signed on New Income Generation Hub in DTES!
In late February EMBERS was confirmed as the successful new tenant of a City-owned commercial property at 57 East Hastings St. referred to by many in the neighbourhood as “The Lux” space. The Lux property was identified by the City of Vancouver last fall as a site that could be used for a collaborative Income Generating Hub, and was put to an open Request for Proposals process.
Urban Core, a network of more than 40 agencies and non-profit social enterprises, worked with EMBERS to craft the vision for the Income Generating Hub, and joined EMBERS as formal Co-Applicants on the RFP. In fact, Urban Core’s Resource Hub Committee had been working on an Income Generating Hub idea through a volunteer network for more than nine months. The early idea for the Hub came in part from the research study that the Local Economic Development Lab undertook with Urban Core in 2015. A rationale for the Hub was outlined in a Briefing Note from Urban Core to City staff in early 2016. In October, the Local Economic Development Lab convened a design workshop with Urban Core members to identify what micro-enterprise and employment services might be offered at the Hub.
Moving forward, Urban Core will form an Advisory Committee to support EMBERS in operationalizing the project. Johanna Li, Director of EMBERS Ventures, worked with Urban Core members and potential partners of the Hub during the RFP phase, and will be leading the work of operationalizing the project moving forward.
Below is a short interview with Johanna about the vision for the Hub.
- What is the innovation happening at the Income Generation Hub?
The vision for EMBERS and Urban Core for the Low-Barrier Income Generation Hub is to create a safe and welcoming space that fills the current gap around employment in the DTES. This Hub will meet people where they are at but will also provide individuals an opportunity to move along the employment continuum should they choose to. Our approach is innovative in its use of multiple partners working in true collaboration using existing programs and expertise to meet the needs of the community while always taking a business approach to these complex problems. EMBERS sees our role in this as curators and connectors. We will harness the vast amount of knowledge and expertise in the community towards meeting our collective goals.
- What is EMBERS’ role specifically?
As the main operator of the Hub EMBERS’ key roles will be to curate the programming by working with the many partner organizations, finding further funding for program, overseeing onsite staff, creating suitable employment opportunities in the community by working with local businesses, BIAs and community organizations and generally overseeing the daily operations of the Hub.
- How will this new initiative improve the incomes and lives of DTES residents?
As mentioned there is currently a gap in employment services in the DTES. Many individuals are willing and able to work but not in the typical, mainstream full-time model. The Hub will create opportunities for individuals to earn much needed dollars in ways that suit their current situations. This may mean finding work for someone for 2 hours a week or helping them better sell a product they have created through self-employment training. Being able to earn money and to be connected to community organizations can vastly improve the lives of residents and provide the possibility for them to move along the employment continuum.
- Why is collaboration so important to the success of the Hub?
Collaboration is key to the success of the Hub as no one organization possesses all the skills, knowledge, expertise and resources to operate such a space all on their own. The DTES community is full of organizations that already do amazing work around creating income generating opportunities for the vulnerable. The role of the Hub will be to pull all of this together under one roof so that all the resources can work together in compliment towards their shared goals. Not only will this reduce redundancy and replication but it will use the power of collective action to ensure the success of the Hub.
- What are next steps?
The next steps will be to develop the specific programming with our community partners, create the physical space for the Hub and to find further funding to support all of this.
Stay tuned for updates on the new Income Generating Hub over the next few months! We will continue to post updates on the project as it evolves.
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