Through generous donations made by our community, the Vancouver Police Foundation funds innovative, creative, and inspiring VPD community programs each year.
These programs and initiatives fall outside of the regular operating budget of the city and the VPD officers that operate these programs typically do so on their own time – after a shift or on days off. Program support falls within four key areas: Community Outreach & Engagement, Mental Health and Addictions, Youth and Technology & Special Equipment.
Below are some of the programs that we are proud to fund 2021 thanks to the generous support of our donors.
Check back often, as we regularly update our website to include the most current news and information.
The Healing Path $3,500
The Healing Path initiative was founded by a member of the Vancouver Police Department in partnership with the Vancouver Aboriginal Community Policing Centre and with endorsements by Reconciliation Canada, to increase awareness about the complex relationship between the police and the Indigenous community. Beading, and in particular the order of beads, holds great significance in Indigenous culture. The goal of the Initiative is to create and distribute 3,000 culturally significant hand-crafted beaded necklace and pins. These are to be worn by police officers, members of the Indigenous community and the general public to visually signify the person’s willingness to participate in dialogue and sharing of culture and experiences intended to heal these relationships moving forward. Ultimately, the Healing Path initiative will create important interconnectivity by bringing police and Indigenous communities together.
We Care Blankets $15,000
According to the 2020 Metro Vancouver Homeless Count there were 2095 Vancouver residents that were identified as homeless. 547 people were living on the street, and 1548 people were living in sheltered locations. For those sleeping on the streets of Vancouver, comfort and warmth can be difficult to find. In addition, one of the most requested and sought-after items at shelters are blankets. The VPD We Care Blankets program will fill this need by providing nearly 800 brand new, comfortable fleece blankets to some of our city’s most vulnerable citizens. The blankets are provided to VPD officers and stocked in VPD patrol vehicles to be handed out to citizens who need them most.
DVACH Health and Safety Kits $11,550
This program provides the VPD Domestic Violence and Criminal Harassment Unit (DVACH) with free Health & Safety Kits to give to high risk domestic violence and elder abuse victims fleeing violent and abusive relationships. These kits are specifically intended for individuals where the abuser has control over every aspect of the victim’s life. By working closely and developing relationships with high risk victims, the DVACH Unit is able to identify individuals and their children who need these Health & Safety Kits the most and provide them with some essentials during a time where they are often injured, in crisis, highly fearful, confused and disoriented about justice system involvement. Each kit includes a 911 cell phone, a whistle, transit passes, gift cards for groceries, fuel and personal toiletries, and now also includes personal protective equipment in light of the COVID 19 pandemic.
Her Time $31,000
Gang Education and Prevention programs have primarily been conducted with a male-focus, yet young women are also victims of gang violence and the tragedies that come with involvement in gang life. Her Time was created to provide young women with a voice and to allow women to actively participate in taking control of their lives. Her Time has reached over 40 schools, 11 community groups and more than 9,000 girls and women in eight BC cities. Proactively, the program provides young women with the tools, resources and knowledge about the dangers of gang lifestyle. Reactively, the program offers women currently involved or at high-risk to becoming involved in gang life the opportunity to connect with the detectives who will provide assistance with an exit strategy.
Seniors Food Hampers $2,500
The VPD Finance department has partnered with the VPD Elder Abuse Unit to identify and provide basic necessities to some of Vancouver’s senior citizens who need it most. With a focus on seniors who live independently, this program will provide vulnerable seniors with fundamental items throughout the year such as healthy groceries and essential toiletries to ensure that their basic needs are being met. Now more than ever, these already vulnerable seniors are exceptionally isolated due to the COVID 19 pandemic. This program aims to offer critical support during isolation, develop positive relationships and provide some of life’s necessities.
Women’s Personal Safety Team $18,493
The VPD Women’s Personal Safety Team is a truly unique program supporting women’s safety in our community. The program enhances women’s security, self-protection and confidence by providing the tools to prevent and defend from asocial violence, including education, training and resources. The Team teaches women of all ages, demographics and abilities and recently pivoted the program to offer virtual sessions due to the pandemic. Since inception in 2012, the Women’s Personal Safety Team has impacted more than 6,400 females, including 2,000 teens and 4,400 women.
AOT Food for Thought $7,500
The Assertive Outreach Team (AOT) is a healthcare and police partnership unique to Vancouver. Persons with severe mental health and addiction issues are often within the criminal justice and healthcare system due to their illness. Though referrals, AOT conducts outreach with clients to reduce incidences of violence and self-harm to protect the public by stabilizing and supporting individuals, improve their quality of life and transition them to an appropriate level of care. Most AOT clients are unemployed, living in extreme poverty and many are homeless making it challenging to connect with them. This has recently become much worse as the Covid 19 pandemic has affected food supplies to the most vital services in the Downtown Eastside. Individuals are going hungry every day and are unable to properly nourish themselves. This grant provides grocery store gift cards for an AOT representative to take the individual grocery shopping in order to provide them with basic nutritional needs, promote a positive relationship and help stabilize and improve the quality of their life.
The ID4ME identification project is designed to assist low barrier and vulnerable individuals to move forward in their lives by providing them with photo identification. The success of this program has been felt, in particular, in the Downtown Eastside with the residents in the area using their new ID to open bank accounts, obtain improved housing, and upgrading their education. Every contact made with individuals in this program closes the gap in helping to strengthen the existing relationship with the Police. Since 2015, the Vancouver Police Foundation has supported ID4ME which has already acquired over 1,400 pieces of identification, including birth certificates, BCID, BC Services card and Status cards, changing the lives and lifestyles of residents in our community.
VPD Film Fest $25,000
In partnership with East Vancouver’s Templeton Secondary School, the VPD Film Festival will educate and engage vulnerable high school students to create their own films that encompass themes of mental health and addiction. As a means to teach youth about the importance of taking care of their own mental health as well as avoiding addictive substances, this program will be delivered as an after-school initiative over the course of six weeks. Several VPD volunteers will assist the youth with their respective films, working alongside Templeton faculty to teach film technique, encourage creativity, empower the students, and ultimately provide a positive outlet for dialog around mental health and addictions issues. The program will conclude with an actual VPD Film Festival at Templeton to showcase each film at a premiere-style event.
DVACH Cell Phones $10,500
In partnership with the VPD Domestic Violence and Criminal Harassment Unit (DVACH), this program provides a complimentary cellphone to deserving and high-need individuals who are victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse or assault, elder abuse and/or criminal harassment. These phones would assist individuals, mostly women, with calling 911 for emergency help, stay in touch with detectives, and be able to easily reach out to support services such as shelters/housing, medical resources and financial assistance. Additionally, these phones can be used as a camera to take immediate photographs and videos of personal injuries, violence in action, and/or damage to property. Through this program, twenty phones will be distributed, each with a six-month data plan, to at-risk individuals as identified by VPD DVACH Detectives as well as partnering agencies.
Project 529 $25,649
Project 529 aims to reduce and resolve the problem of bike theft in Vancouver by tracking ownership, creating a visible deterrent to bike theft using a unique decal and by allowing bike owners and the police to assist each other in locating and returning stolen bikes. The program is a comprehensive bike registry and recovery system, accessible online or through a user-friendly app. Users complete and online profile and receive a highly visible tamper-proof sticker – the Shield ID – to be applied to their bike frame in order to ward off potential thieves and help in the bike’s identification and recovery if it should go missing. Since it launched in 2015, Project 529 is credited for reducing bike theft in Vancouver by 40%.
Project SNARE $15,000
Project SNARE is an online awareness and deterrence campaign aimed a targeting actual sex trade consumers who drive the industry. Using strategic domain names which are likely to pique the interest of those seeking sexual services of persons under 18, the VPD’s Counter Exploitation Unit Detectives will drive this campaign to promote awareness and deterrence based on redirecting the interest of sex trade consumers to an awareness message outlining the strong consequences of such behavior. It is unique and innovative, piloting website and online approaches to detect and deter this activity from happening.
Trauma-Informed Interview Room Remodel $10,000
Last year 156 interviews were conducted in the VPD’s Special Investigation Section Child and Adult Interview rooms. These two interview rooms have been functioning as a critical space for conducting important interviews and investigations, mostly with children, yet these spaces do not currently lend themselves to be effective, trauma-informed environments in terms of design and décor. This grant will provide a critical trauma-informed remodel of these interview rooms, including the addition of child-friendly furniture, paint colours, toys and blankets, in order to increase victim and witness comfort and support the more fulsome recounting of testimony. Young victims and witnesses who feel comfortable during a police investigation are more likely to remember the details of their experience and cooperate with investigators, therefore increasing the likelihood to participate in a court hearing to help secure a conviction. The VPF is providing funding for the trauma-informed design work and toy/décor, while the VPD is funding the renovations and providing the facility.
Newkids $48,000 (over three years)
The Newkids program support youth that are newcomers to Canada, often refugees, who have arrived in the last three years and who face challenges such as trauma before/after arriving in Canada, limited or negative peer connections and/or limited connection with their school or community. This program, a partnership between the VPD and the Vancouver School Board, includes boys and girls aged 15-18 and facilitates timely and positive connections between these youth and local law enforcement over the course of ten weeks. It creates awareness around policing through peer and police mentorship to avert the risk of becoming victims of crime and/or getting involved in negative behaviours.
Fly Fishing Respectful Positive Mentoring $7,500
Through an impactful partnership between the VPD, RCMP, RayCam Community Centre, and Strathcona Community Centre, the Fly Fishing Respectful Positive Mentoring program will support vulnerable and at-risk youth from the Downtown Eastside though outdoor activities and education such as camping and fly fishing. This program will provide specifically identified youth an escape from the streets and the poverty of the Downtown Eastside and take them on a journey of exploration and adventure connecting to nature and the world around them in a non-judgmental and educational way. In order to break the cycle of poverty and addiction issues, youth need to feel that they are recognized, cared-for, connected, encouraged and educated by trusting mentors. This program will provide exactly that in both the short-term and long-term, as the ultimate goal is to help these youth become positive role models and mentors for the next generation of program participants.