Making the Granville strip safe: Nighttime safety program in need of funding

On Tuesday, Vancouver city staff will recommend the city provide $25,000 in funding to non-profit organization Good Night Out Vancouver⁠—a nightlife safety program.

Part of the recommendation calls for $5,000 to be allocated to long-term operational planning.

Good Night Out Vancouver is an outreach team that works on weekends between midnight and 4 a.m. They patrol the nine-block radius that makes up the downtown Granville Street entertainment district⁠ — or the Granville Strip.

The program has been on hiatus since May due to lack of funding for the summer/fall 2019 season.

According to data collected by the program between June 1, 2018 and the end of April 2019, Good Night Out Vancouver's street team helped over 2,500 people stay safe while partying on the strip.

The data found the team helps just as many men as it does women. However, the situations it helps women with are more serious, says Stacey Forrester, co-founder of Good Night Out Vancouver.

"A lot of times they're quite vulnerable because they're over-intoxicated and they're by themselves and they may be being targeted because they are by themselves and not fully in their great state of mind," Forrester told Laura Lynch, guest host of CBC's The Early Edition.

Street level action

Good Night Out Vancouver gives out water, helps people charge their phones, helps people find their friends, waits with those who are intoxicated until they get a cab and escorts people to night buses.

Joshua Peter Grafstein/Just Jash Photography
Joshua Peter Grafstein/Just Jash Photography

They also intervene when they see people being followed, harassed or if someone wants to report that they're feeling unsafe, says Forrester.

Good Night Out Vancouver works closely with the Vancouver Police Department.

"This team was always meant to be something that was proactive ... inserting itself into situations before they ramp up to to warrant police involvement."

Where the money goes

The organization costs a minimum of $55,000 a year to run, with 80 per cent going toward paying the patrol team. In the past, it has received money from the City of Vancouver, the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association and the Vancouver Police Department, as well as from small donors.

Past VPD funding went to buying gear and necessary patrol items for 2019.

A GoFundMe page for Good Night Out Vancouver has raised $1,805 so far.

Forrester says despite being low on funding, the organization is aiming to be in operation again by mid-July.

Listen to the full interview here:

With files from The Early Edition.