This research explores the question: What makes housing work for women who have experienced homelessness on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES)? Eleven women were interviewed, both in-depth interviews and tours of the women’s sleeping places. During the interviews and tours, trends and priorities were identified in terms of the housing type, choice, housing with or without a partner, design of the space, accessibility, safety, guidelines and policies, repairs and cleanliness, support from staff and programming. Interviews were also completed with experts in housing or homelessness to supplement the information heard from women. Experts included people involved in planning, finding, providing, or researching housing. Information from experts expanded on, confirmed and provided context to the findings from the women’s interviews. Engaging with women allowed them to provide this project with their experience and recommendations in the planning, design, management and provision of housing. Through this research, functional solutions were uncovered to provide better housing that works for women. The information gathered is useful to inform policy, planning, funding, design, and support services in order to better provide women with more than a roof over their heads, and to help them find a place to finally call home.
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