Employ To Empower


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What Do We Advocate For?

We act as advocates for the Downtown Eastside across the wider Vancouver community. We are committed to community outreach and facilitating creative events, such as exhibitions and dialogue sessions, for our members. We also distribute essential resources to residents in need, in a dignified way at our annual Street Store. Our goal through advocacy is to bring about positive social change for residents of the Downtown Eastside, by challenging common misperceptions and shifting the current stigma. We envision a Downtown Eastside community free of stigma, where residents are seen, heard and validated.

Our Initiatives.

The Street Store

The Vancouver Street Store is a free, annual, pop-up clothing store that offers a dignified shopping experience to residents in the Downtown Eastside.

The Cardboard Project

The Cardboard Project centres around the unveiling of a unique artwork created using messages written on cardboard, contributed by the Downtown Eastside community.


Entrepreneurs in our program are given the opportunity to share their work, abilities, and diverse stories at exhibitions throughout the year.

About The Street Store.

The Vancouver Street Store is an annual free pop-up clothing store that offers a dignified shopping experience to residents in the Downtown Eastside.

The Vancouver Street Store is a free pop-up clothing store for residents in the Downtown Eastside, facilitated by Employ to Empower with its partners every December. The goal of this event at Columbia and East Hastings is to provide a dignified shopping experience, where residents are uplifted and offered a hand up rather than a hand out. Since the Street Store was founded in 2014, we’ve worked with 500+ volunteers, received 66,550 donations and impacted 6,000+ residents.

Our Supporters.

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About The Cardboard Project.

Cardboard Project event’s feature cardboard and cardboard responses in an artistically creative way and in order to spread important messages.

The Cardboard Project is a unique event that was inspired by the culture of individuals experiencing homelessness and poverty, who often write messages and stories on pieces of cardboard. The Cardboard Project features a unique artwork, created using messages written on cardboard. These messages respond to a different question every year, focusing on human connection, recovery, wisdom, community, listening, spirituality, and other themes. The Cardboard Project also features talks by thought leaders, discussions with our members, experiences inviting us all to connect, and an exhibition of our members’ artistic creations. The overall goal of the Cardboard Project is to dismantle prevailing negative stigmas and strive towards a Downtown Eastside neighbourhood where members are seen, heard, and validated, while feeling connected to the greater community.

Our Supporters.


Entrepreneurs in our program are given the opportunity to showcase their work and abilities and tell their diverse stories.

Every year, Employ to Empower hosts multiple public exhibitions at different locations in the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood to showcase the work and abilities of our entrepreneurs. At our exhibitions, entrepreneurs in our program get much needed exposure, and a space where they can tell their stories of triumph and resiliency.

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