I thought I would touch base on how things are shaping up here at Binners’ Project.
We had another outdoor Binners’ Meeting on Tuesday and I got a chance to chat with the binners about how things are going for them. Overall people are doing OK so far, which is good to hear. They’re anxious about what might happen over the next few weeks, but everyone is healthy and they’re really grateful for the income replacement we’ve been giving them.
Thank you so much to those of you who donated over the week. Brianne told me that 37 of you donated $1,905, which is amazing. If you haven’t donated yet, you can do that right here.
This money is going towards our Binners’ Meetings stipends, which we’ve upped from $5 to $20 after our social enterprise programs were cancelled. Cancelled programs means lost revenue, which is why we’re looking for donations to help us cover these costs. What you’ve donated so far gives us about 2 weeks of ‘income replacement’ for about 50 binners.
Help us get to $5,000 so we can continue income replacement through to May. Pitch in now.
We’ll be in touch as things continue.
Stay safe out there,
PS: Donate now to help us continue giving binners income while they’re not able to work!
What a challenge the past week has been.
First off - I hope you’re well and staying home as much as possible. Our responsibility to folks who are most at risk of needing medical care during this outbreak is paramount.
With this, and through discussions with our social enterprise partners, we have made the decision to suspend all back-of-house waste sorting, public representation and event programs effective today and until further notice.
So, what does this mean?
Well most importantly, it means the binners will not be able to work during this time. As you can imagine, this was a difficult and emotional decision to come to as we sit with the massive disruption in fulfilling our mission to increase binners’ economic opportunities.
But, this doesn’t mean we’re letting our members go completely empty handed, as providing safe and stable income opportunities for our members is key to that mission.
Last night, we switched up our Binners’ Meeting by gathering outside to better abide by social distancing practices. We met with our volunteer members to give them a small stipend in recognition of lost shifts. These volunteers generally receive an honorarium in compensation for participating in our programs.
Casual staff members will receive a similar amount on their next paycheque.
Right now, we are doing this ‘income replacement’ out-of-pocket as our social enterprise program revenues have halted. In order to continue this work in the coming weeks, we need your help.
$20 may seem like a small amount, but it will bring a bit of financial support in this time of crisis while maintaining engagement with the Binners’ Project community – please donate now.
We continue to look toward the Provincial and Federal governments as they consider financial support to people living in poverty who are not eligible for Employment Insurance. We expect to hear more on this by the end of the week.
We know you care about the binners, and many of you are donors who support our programming. We will keep you updated about the steps we’re taking to ensure the binners are safe, healthy, and financially stable as this pandemic continues.
Please consider donating today.
With the massive public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we wanted to let you know how we’re looking ahead to what an outbreak could look like in the Downtown Eastside. We’re thinking largely about the impacts on our members, the majority of whom are over the age of 50 and have pre-existing health issues – which as we know are the virus’ most likely victims so far.
We’ve also been talking about the impacts this might have on our social enterprise programs, and had a conversation yesterday with other DTES social enterprises to discuss potential action plans.
As we’re keeping a close eye on the situation in Vancouver and across the lower mainland, we’ll be re-evaluating our weekly Binners’ Meetings regularly to ensure the safety and wellness of our members. Already this week, we instituted a handwashing station with education on proper respiratory hygiene, and are encouraging people to stay home when they are sick.
However, we know that the public health structures put in place to prevent the spread of disease, like self-quarantine and handwashing, won’t be easy to implement in the DTES. How can you afford unpaid sick-leave when you supplement your government benefits with vending, binning, and honoraria? How can you self-quarantine when you share a bathroom with 15 other people? Or even more, if you’re staying in a shelter?
In our communications with our members, we will continue to inform and educate them on best practices as recommended by our local health authorities, knowing there barriers may exist that prevent them from receiving and acting on up-to-date information about this situation.
We are also working on being present at the table with the City of Vancouver and Vancouver Coastal Health to ensure that binners and DTES residents are at the forefront of a coordinated community response.
While we recognize that the risk associated with COVID-19 to the public is still considered low in BC, we continue to monitor the situation as it unfolds and will be taking additional precautions as necessary.
Director, Binners’ Project
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