Community Programs


Watari’s Community Addictions Counselling Team work with individuals, couples and families in the Strathcona/Downtown Eastside around issues related to problem substance misuse.
We recognize that substance use is often connected to other issues like poverty, abuse or isolation; so whether it’s your struggle or that of a loved one, the counsellors can bridge you with new options, choices and opportunities. Our team of counsellors come with different approaches and backgrounds, allowing us to find a match for anyone walking through the doors.
Open Monday to Friday, the team will assist the people we support in identifying the areas of their lives that are working and those that are a struggle.
For more information, or to see a counsellor, please call us at 604.254.6995, or e-mail heather@watari.ca to setup an intake meeting.


S.T.A.R stands for ‘Stop Think Assess & Respond’ and is an education program for mainly grade six and seven students that takes a ‘just say KNOW’ approach to drugs, safety, compassion and community. S.T.A.R is continually adapting to the issues that are relevant to young students. Recent presentaitons also include topics such as vaping, social media, gaming and screen time. Each week during the school year – 3 mornings a week from 9am to noon – students in an elementary school somewhere in Vancouver are buzzing as they participate in quizzes and role plays that challenge them to think and act in a new and informed way.
Values, conflict and tricky situations are just a few of the topics that 2 of Watari’s skilled counsellors approach over the 4 sessions, all with intention of building resiliencey skills and creating options that allow young people to stand up for themselves and others.
For more information about having Watari’s S.T.A.R Program come to your school, please call Sandra or Kevin at 604.254.6995 or e-mail kevin@watari.ca.


A program for the Latin-American community in the Downtown Eastside that provides health promotion, education, substance-use counselling and support around immigration issues.
On Mondays and Tuesdays, our downtown office is bustling with the sounds and smells one might normally associate with a Fiesta.
Since 1998, Watari have been making in-roads into the Latin American community in the Downtown Eastside, seeking to provide health promotion, education, substance misuse counselling and support around immigration issues.
Beginning as a partnership with Storefront Orientation Services, our Latin American Outreach position has used the community’s connection to music, food and citizenship to engage individuals and families in health fairs, community kitchen and growing urban garden.
Berta Perez has continued to create trust and build bridges within a community that has every reason to be cautious about seeking services. Many of the people supported in the program struggle with health and immigration issues and come from countries where civil war was a reality.
For more information on taking part in this program, please call Berta Perez at 604.782.5084 or e-mail her at berta@watari.ca.


A one-on-one community outreach program focused on listening to what Aboriginal young people need, and act quickly to connect these youth to services, support and people that meet their needs


Our Vancouver Intensive Supervision Unit works with members of the community struggling with chaotic thinking, homelessness, social isolation who are often caught up in the court system due to their mental health and substance abuse issues.
The Vancouver Integrated Supervision Unit (VISU) provides for the effective administration of court orders, and assertive case management for adults with mental-health issues serving sentences within an integrated framework comprised of Corrections Branch, Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, and our Watari employee.
The goal of this partnership is to enhance community safety and reduce re-offending and admissions to hospital and psychiatric institutions. The following principles serve as guidelines to the program:
  1. the protection of the public;
  2. the best interests of the offender, and;
  3. the effective, consistent management of offenders within the justice system and community mental health system.
Watari works with VISU to provide an outreach worker who specializes in mental health and addiction. This position works with clients of VISU and as part of the integrated case management team comprised of Probation Officers, Occupational Therapists, Social Workers, and Nurses.
The integrated case management team at VISU provides services to sentenced offenders with psychiatric diagnoses in the Vancouver area, with a mandate to facilitate the transition of offenders to appropriate treatment and resources in the community.
The team focuses on providing assistance with basic living essentials including housing, financial management, and health care services. Accompaniment to appointments is also provided, including mental health teams, forensic outpatient services, income assistance, court appearances, and much more.
VISU staff collaborates with an extensive network of community resources to support and assist clients in accessing services and treatment. This project is viewed as a positive and effective example of integrated practice at work and Watari is pleased to be a partner in it.
Referrals to the program come from a myriad of places including probation, forensics, housing providers, health clinics, and outreach teams.
For more information about this program, please call Watari’s Executive Director Ingrid Mendez at 604-254-6995 or e-mail ingrid@watari.ca.


Watari’s Downtown Community Courts Program is partnered to work hand-in-hand with the Vancouver Intensive Supervision Unit, with an integrated framework providing probation, housing, mental health, employment and education to assist this group of individuals to be more stable and connected to their community.
Funded by the Law Foundation of B.C., Watari’s System Negotiator is part of the Mental Health Program (MHP) at Vancouver’s Downtown Community Courts (DCC). Working as part of the team, our System Negotiator assists individuals in navigating their specific pathway that was developed through a case management plan.
The DCC MHP was developed as a result of the need to provide integrated assessments, case plans and support for accused persons who are chronically mentally ill. The program develops case plans and implementation strategies, working with existing community-based agencies to provide direct support for participants. The MHP is located at DCC and is comprised of Psychiatrist, Dr. MacEwan, a Forensic Liaison Nurse, a Probation Officer, and the Watari System Negotiator.
Many of the participants of the MHP have had interactions with housing, income assistance, mental health teams and addictions service providers, yet continue to struggle with these and other issues. The primary purpose of the Watari System Negotiator and their team is to appropriately assess, treat and assist individuals presenting in court and have their charges stayed, once they have been sufficiently helped and/or transitioned to a more long-term care team. These individuals would often be better and more effectively served in the health and social service realm, rather than the criminal justice stream.
This program is a part of the Downtown Community Court system, and as such, referrals are directly related to people coming in contact with the courts.
For more information about this programs, please call Andrew Drury at 604.660.8820 or e-mail andrew.drury@gov.bc.ca.

Migrant 2 Migrant

Supporting under-resourced workers with information and access to clothing, shelter, and medical care. Donations of refurbished bicycles from UBC Bike Doctor’s Bici Libre program greatly assist workers with their ability to access basic supplies off the farms. In April 2019 this program becomes part of our Migrant 2 Migrant initiative.
Beginning April 2019, this initiative funded by Employment Services and Social Development Canada will support the Agricultural Migrant Worker program, which has been exclusively volunteer-fuelled for over 4 years. This allows an expansion and multiplication of our services, as well as the introduction of new programs and partnerships.
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