Girls need housing, services outside Downtown Eastside

To the editor:

Re: "Teenage housing nightmare part of growing Atira empire," Aug. 24.

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While [columnist Mark] Hasiuk has already named some of those responsible, the key culprit must be named: the Ministry of Children and Family Development is failing these girls and neglecting to provide them with the necessities of life, such as adequate housing. The ministry's low-housing allowances already pay for teen girls' rooms in derelict insect-infested hotels in the Downtown Eastside. And, a representative of the child welfare ministry was on the advisory panel of the Imouto project. The child welfare ministry must answer for its compounding human rights failures that push girls into the Downtown Eastside in the first place, for allowing this project to go forward, and for failing to provide the resources that girls struggling with addictions and poverty require: girlonly drug detox that girls can enter without waiting, girl-only voluntary residential drug treatment and transition houses specifically for girls. We must demand housing and drug treatment services for abused and neglected girls, outside of the Downtown Eastside, and based on standards of dignity and freedom from abuse.

Asia Czapska, Vancouver

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