Monday, December 05, 2022
LETTER FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR STEVEN JOHNSTON
Over this past year, CIRES has continued to strive toward our mission of supporting thriving, equitable, and inclusive local economies where all residents can prosper and live full and rewarding lives. CIRES was able to support all of our Subtenants as our region began to recover from the worst impacts of the pandemic, while also serving a leadership role in community economic development alongside our non-profit partners. We are proud to say that no Subtenants were lost due to the impact of Covid-19. Beyond ongoing support, we actually expanded our work in the community. We invested in social enterprise, acted as a funding and administrative partner for grass-roots organizations employing residents with barriers to employment, and led a collaborative network of organizations working to advance community-led solutions in the Downtown Eastside.
CIRES is particularly pleased to have launched a new service, Impact Social Services, for the Subtenants in our portfolio. This program allows Subtenants to maximize social contributions to their community in a more targeted and effective manner. Working in partnership with our Subtenants, Staff will assist them to identify their unique social value contribution, liaise between Subtenants and residents to ensure that benefits are well received, match Subtenants' financial contributions to enhance benefits, and measure and report on impact and outcomes. With ISS in place, CIRES now has the capacity to recognize and show community impact benefits generated by space in the portfolio. Throughout this coming year, CIRES will manage and track these impacts and we look forward to presenting a more fulsome report as the work progresses.
CIRES also maintained its ongoing investment in the Washington Community Market (the Market), an affordable grocery store and key food security source in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside (DTES). When the future of the market was in doubt, CIRES purchased it from PHS. The Market has been a fixture in the DTES for decades, and CIRES seized the opportunity to preserve this vital grocery store dedicated to serving low-income residents. Over the past year, CIRES has invested in staffing, physical upgrades, and an online platform that allows the Market to expand its offerings to non-profits operating in the neighbourhood. CIRES is committed to the continued growth of the Washington Community Market and its mission of providing DTES residents with an affordable, dignified, and inclusive shopping experience.
These are just a few of the exciting and innovative ways CIRES has delivered on its mission and vision over the past year. Internally, in recognition of the success of our community economic development programs, we have expanded our organizational capacity by adding a CED Program Manager and a Bookkeeper. These new team members have strengthened CIRES' ability to embrace new opportunities in support of our Subtenants and the broader community.
In the coming year, CIRES will continue to dedicate its efforts toward building an inclusive and equitable community for all, by carefully stewarding the properties in our portfolio and maximizing the benefits they bring to the community.
Read or download the full report here.