There are piles of used hypodermic needles in front of almost every room on the third floor of the Arco Hotel in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Garbage is piled up so deep in one room, it would be easy to assume it is abandoned.
It is not. The hotel is full of people paying more than they can afford for conditions that are less than anyone deserves.
This is the scene six members of the BC Hockey League Surrey Eagles find themselves in. The look on the faces of the 19-year-old players says it all. For some time after they leave the hotel, words simply fail the young men.
“It’s hard to see people live like this,” says Eagles forward Kenny Riddett from Fishkill, N.Y.
The players are taking part in a program offered by the Odd Squad, a non-profit association made up of current and former police officers that uses documentaries and peer-to-peer presentations to educate about the dangers of addiction and gangs.
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