Wish Drop-In Centre Society
The WISH Drop-In Centre Society
Operated by women for the exclusive use of female survival sex workers, the WISH Drop-In Centre Society is a registered non-profit society that furnishes a variety of services within a nurturing and non-judgmental environment.
In addition to meeting essential needs by serving nutritious, hot meals, providing showering facilities, dispensing make-up, hygiene items, and clothing for up to 120 women each night, WISH offers on-site nursing care, referrals to detox, treatment and shelters. Our programs, including Supported Employment and a Learning Centre, have been successful in providing opportunities for participants to engage in positive, empowering activities in a safe place.
The Mobile Access Project, an overnight support van born of a partnership of WISH and PACE, is key in addressing the needs of women engaging in sex work in the night when there are few options available to them.
Guided by a 15 member volunteer Board of Directors, a group of dedicated volunteers, and a committed staff, WISH’s underlying philosophy is one of recognizing the innate dignity of every woman and affording her the respect she inherently deserves. We seek to build a sense of belonging and inclusion among participants through unconditional acceptance, friendship, empathy, compassion, and opportunity for safety.
Funding to open WISH overnight
On December 17, 2012, in his report on the Missing Women’s Inquiry, Commissioner Oppal urged the Provincial Government to commit to two measures immediately:
1) To provide funding to existing centres that provide emergency services to women engaged in the sex trade to enable them to remain open 24 hours per day
2) To develop and implement an enhanced public transit system to provide a safe travel option connecting the Northern communities, particularly along Highway 16.
Attorney General Shirley Bond announced the same day that the government would be committing to both these measures.
For WISH that meant that for the first time in its 28 year history, the Drop-In Centre has $750,000 of annual core funding to expand its hours of operation for the benefit of women engaging in sex work. We welcome this commitment to extended hours of safety at the Drop-In and have been able to open for a total of 18 hours a day. This is a significant change from our then current 6 pm to 11 pm and we have celebrated the challenges and the successes this change brings.
The fullness of programming that we are able to offer at the Drop-In will still rely on the support of our generous and loyal donors. We envision expansion of the Peer Safety Patrol supported employment program, the Peer Volunteer Program, and the introduction of additional on-site supports for WISH participants.
Thank you to all who provide the essential support for WISH to offer opportunities for health and safety to women engaging in sex work in the Downtown Eastside community. You continue to help us reach out to women in a safe and non-judgmental environment where we can work together to meet some of the most basic human needs.
Forsaken: The Report of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry
WISH: A Charity Intelligence Top Pick for 2012!
For the second year in a row, Charity Intelligence has selected the WISH Drop-In Centre Society as a Top Pick.
“Charity Intelligence is pleased to announce that the WISH has been selected as a Ci Top Pick Charity 2012. WISH excels in addressing important community issues in the DTES and has a track record of producing outstanding results for Canadians in need. Our picks were selected from an initial pool of almost 250 charity contacts.
“Once again, we thank you for your efforts and for participating in Ci’s 2012 search for charitable excellence. Keep up the amazing work that you do. We look forward to a long and productive relationship with WISH”.
Nancy Self, December , 2012
To read the whole report and criteria for selection for Top Picks, please go to www.charityintelligence.ca.