We’re celebrating our birthday today – 44 years young. On December 9, 1967, the door at 59 Powell St was opened for the first time and over the more than four decades since, the Dugout has been a safe haven for the people of the Downtown Eastside.
In January of 1967, Bob Burrows, founder of the Dugout, travelled to Toronto to join a collection of civic-minded community leaders at the Canadian Urban Training Project. Their aim was to develop strategies to cope with the increasing need for social assistance in Canada’s urban centres.
As part of their experience, participants were asked to spend three days and two nights on the streets of Toronto with only five dollars and whatever help they could find. It was brutally cold and there were shamefully few places where one could find refuge. It was a transformative experience for Bob and he returned home to Vancouver with an even greater commitment to make sure that every person has a safe place to feel welcome and cared for.
With the help of a small, determined group of volunteers and with the support of several local churches, the once run-down storage space at 59 Powell St. was spruced up and repurposed as a neighbourhood living room. Hundreds of people passed through the doors in the first few days and the Dugout has been serving the changing needs of the community ever since.
As we celebrate this joyful anniversary, we pause to give thanks for all of the volunteers and donors who make our mission possible. Life on the streets of Vancouver is no easier today then it was those 44 years ago and we continue to need your help. The best birthday gift you could give to us would be to follow the links on this page and make a donation today.