Rainier Hotel

309 Carrall St. Vancouver B.C. V6B 2J4 • (604) 684-2246 • Units: 20 long-term, 21 beds – drug and alcohol treatment program (intake and length of stay vary)

Originally built in the 1920s, the Rainier Hotel re-opened in 2009 redesigned as a women’s only treatment project, and supportive housing for women in recovery. The second floor provides 21 beds for women going through the alcohol and drug treatment program while the third floor provides an additional 20 units of long-term housing.

The Rainier program works one-on-one with women to develop a program that meets their specific needs. Program intensity on the second floor progresses at a pace set by the participants, with the women in charge of their recovery every step of the way. Participants are encouraged to stay at the Rainier for as long as they require treatment; the average length of stay on ranges from 6-9 months with the majority of discharges made to long-term housing.

The program is meant to target deeply-entrenched women with little access to mainstream programs, or for those who have fared poorly in traditional treatment settings.

The program is uniquely designed within a harm reduction framework that places abstinence as a goal and not a requirement of treatment. The program also involves a stepped progressive care, meaning it progresses at a flexible rate and the intensity of the intervention increases as participants stabilize.

For women, the DTES is too often a place of extreme violence, unsafe injection and survival sex work. Female IV drug users now account for the majority of new HIV infections in Vancouver.  Additionally, survival sex workers suffer from higher-than-average rates of viral illnesses, sexually transmitted diseases, vaginal infections, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic headaches, physical assault, not to mention a mortality rate that is 40 times higher than that of the general population. Recognizing the failure of status-quo treatment programs, the PHS partnered with Vancouver Coastal Health and Health Canada in 2008 to open a purpose-built women-only treatment and housing program in the newly renovated Rainier Hotel in 2009.

The Rainier Program was evaluated by the BC Centre in HIV / Aids, which demonstrated it successfully reaches a group of women that have faced numerous challenges and provides a positive environment where there was improvement.

The Rainier Hotel

Paula, a resident of The Rainier Hotel, discusses her journey dealing with addiction and other personal issues, and how living at Rainier helped give her a new outlook on life.