MEGA-NEWS: Atira wins housing award for controversial women’s project


Vancouver supportive housing project Imouto House has received an award for its services for young women in the Downtown Eastside.


Atira Property Management was given the award, with special mention of Imouto House, which houses and provides services to young women ages 16-24, by Women Transforming Cities, an organization aiming to bring women’s voices to the Vancouver city planning agenda. 


“[For the award] we had international, national and local submissions,” said Ellen Woodsworth, co-founder of Women Transforming Cities and a former Vancouver city councilor. “The majority of them were looking at the issue of women in the city, not girls in the city. 


“This was a chance for us to really talk about the importance of addressing the needs of girls in cities.”


Opened in 2011, Imouto House has received criticism for housing vulnerable young women who are often dealing with addictions and mental illness in the Downtown Eastside. Earlier in May, the housing project announced a young woman living at Imouto had died from an accidental heroin overdose. 


Janice Abbott, CEO of Atira Property Management, says the award shows the project is working, though it’s not about winning a battle with Imounto’s critics.


“This isn’t a competition between the detractors and the supporters,” she told Megaphone.


“It’s just a reminder to us all that what Imouto is really about is the young women who are benefitting from the housing."

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