The focus of the Retail Gentrification and Social Inclusion working group is to ensure that cultural and low income serving businesses in Vancouver's inner city are retained. The group's purpose is to ensure that residents have accessible and affordable places to shop in the inner city and that nonprofits and low income serving businesses can access affordable commercial space to maintain operations. Lastly the group tries to promote greater community ownership of neighbourhood assets through investment vehicles, such as land trusts, social purpose real estate and more.
This working group also developed and operates the Eastside Local Card program. The Local Card is a free rewards card for local inner city Vancouver residents to use to get discounts and other special offers at various participating businesses. The card provides an opportunity for local businesses to give back to the community and make their goods and services more accessible and/or affordable to local residents.
We surveyed the shops and shoppers, residents, and business in the Downtown Eastside. We found that many residents reported feeling isolated and excluded by businesses in the area; and that many businesses were looking for ways to support the local low-income economy. The Eastside Local Card is a way for participating businesses to make their goods and services more accessible to local residents.
For more information about the Eastside Local Card, check out the website.