UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Skid road, Vancouver : an exploratory study of the nature and organization of skid road and the effectiveness of existing social policy Hein, Hubert


Similar to most other large North American cities, that area of Vancouver which at the beginning of the present century was at the hub of a young and vigorous regional economy, is now playing host to the castoffs of our society made up of those who are suffering from physical and emotional ill health or have fallen by the wayside because of poverty and lack of skills and education. The social agencies serving the area recognize that by and large their efforts are only of an emergency nature and leave the basic problems untouched. A comprehensive program to deal effectively with the problems of skid road requires resources beyond the means of these agencies and will require extensive support, financial and otherwise, from civic and senior governments. A number of the agencies serving the area have been instrumental in bringing the dilemma to the attention of civic authorities and in recommending remedial and preventive action. Studies and programs which have been undertaken on Skid Road in the United States, point the way to a solution of similar problems in Vancouver. At the same time research on the subject is still relatively limited, and much more needs to be known, especially of the situation as it exists at the local level. The present study is intended to add to the fund of basic knowledge on Skid Road in Vancouver. This is a necessity if effective planning and action are to take place. In the introductory chapter Skid Road is portrayed in terms of its historical and present physical and social characteristics. A review of two recent studies on Skid Road in Vancouver familiarized the reader with some of the problems of the area and suggests possible ways of coping with these. A few observations on newspaper coverage of the area conclude the chapter. In Chapter II a summary of several studies and projects on Skid Road in the United States offers a means of comparison to the local scene. The second half of the thesis focuses on an examination of the problems and social policy of Skid Road in Vancouver, as seen by representatives of social agencies serving the area and the clientele served. The purpose of the study, its scope, and the materials and methods used, are outlined in greater detail. In chapter 4 the research data are classified and presented in table form where appropriate. A brief analysis of the data is also presented. The final chapter contains observations on the research project and its findings as a whole. The thesis ends with a number of recommendations and conclusions on the basis of the findings. The study was intended primarily as a further exploration of the problem area. Definite conclusions were not expected. At the same time, the following observations deserve closer consideration. It was felt that particular attention be given to the establishment of: a) a multipurpose agency in the Skid Road area b) a variety of hostels and halfway houses located throughout the city c) a coordinating body to deal with Skid Road problems

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