Job Description

The Tenant Overdose Response Organizer (TORO) Program Coordinator works in collaboration with the staff and board members of the Downtown Eastside SRO Collaborative (SRO-C). This position is supervised by the Organizing Director and will work closely with existing TORO Program Coordinators to support their day-to-day operations. The Program Coordinators will be the main point of contact for the TORO and Covid-19 Emergency Tenant Responders (CETR) teams and will facilitate the programs’ growth, development, capacity building and mentorship as well as facilitate conflict resolution amongst groups and TOROs themselves.

About the SRO-C and Related Programming

The SRO-C seeks to improve Vancouver’s Single Room Occupancy (SRO) housing stock and promote healthier living conditions, wellbeing for SRO tenants and more stable housing through tenant organizing. In 2016, SRO-C began organizing networks of SRO tenants for overdose prevention in privately-owned SROs. The CETR program began in Spring of 2020 to prepare tenants in private hotels for the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The TORO Program is a volunteer/honorarium-based initiative funded by Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) to operate in dozens of SROs as a complement to the existing overdose prevention services in the city. Its intention is to provide peer-based support and naloxone training in the places drug users live in order to increase safety and comfort for those most directly affected by overdoses. It is not intended as a replacement for medical services, or as a “solution” to the crisis brought about in our community by systemic factors beyond our control. The TORO program hires and trains peers who offer a variety of services in their buildings, including referrals to treatment and other services, tips on safer drug use, naloxone training and kit dispensation, and harm reduction supply distribution. 

CETRs provide Program Coordinators with up-to-date information on Covid-19 symptoms and cases in their building, and are trained in safely distributing PPE, hot meals, hygiene, and other supplies to isolated tenants in privately owned SRO buildings. 


  • Stays up to date on organizational happenings and can fill in for the Organizing Director in their absence.
  • Establishes and maintains relationships with building tenants living in SROs.
  • Assists tenants by creating linkages to supports and services.
  • Provides continuous mentoring and leadership development to membership of TOROs/CETRs.
  • Supports the Organizing Director in hiring and TORO/CETR discipline.
  • Coordinates TORO/CETR membership to be available in their buildings for workshops, walkthroughs and harm reduction supply distribution.
  • Coordinating harm reduction supplies on site, as well as in SROs.
  • Ensures and supports TORO/CETR wellness, self-care and retreats.
  • Maintains resources to provide cultural safety, healing and support.
  • Works to educate and promote trauma-informed care.
  • Contributes to data collection, reporting, and budget management for the program.
  • Collaboratively works to ensure more safety for TORO/CETR staff and projects.
  • Other responsibilities as delegated by the Executive Director or Board of Directors.


  • Lived or living experience with substance use, and extensive understanding of drug use.
  • Ability to engage in safer use discussions with individuals or groups.
  • A high degree of understanding of intersectionality, cultural familiarity, and sensitivity to working in the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood.
  • Transparent and high integrity leadership.
  • Ability to effectively communicate the organization’s mission to donors, volunteers and the overall community.
  • Demonstrated ability to collaborate with staff in all areas of SRO-C.
  • Solid organizational abilities, including planning, delegating, program development and task facilitation.
  • Strong financial skills, including budget preparation, analysis, decision making and reporting.
  • Access to your own computer/laptop and cell phone is preferred. 
  • Strong written and oral communication skills, and working knowledge of Google Suite and Microsoft Office.
  • Class 5 Driver’s License is considered an asset.
  • Knowledge of Covid-19 safety precautions considered an asset.

Compensation and Benefits:

There are two full-time positions available at 40 hours week for a four-month contract (October-January), with possibility of extension depending on funding. Staff are paid $27.00/hour with health and dental benefits, plus an additional allowance for cell phone and internet bills. 


Please send a one-page cover letter, including any previous experience on anti-oppression work and ability to address bias against drug-users, along with a resume to:

Interviews will begin the week of October 5th.

We thank all prospective applicants for their time, however only those selected for an interview will be contacted.

COVID-19 in the SROs

There is lots in the news and on social media about the new coronavirus called COVID-19. There is concern that people that are unhoused or live in accommodation with shared amenities are at greater risk of being exposed to the virus.

This informative brochure will help you make sure that you are getting accurate information to keep you and your neighbours safe and healthy.


Extra consideration should also be taken by people who use drugs. This hand out gives some advice on how to make sure that people aren’t spreading the virus to others.

Safe Drug Use Handout – COVID-19

Preserving Single Room Occupancy Stock Surrounding New St. Paul’s Hospital Site

On Tuesday Councillor Jean Swanson put forward a motion directing staff to explore ways to preserve our vital SRO stock that is in the proximity of the new St. Paul’s Hospital location on Station Street.

The motion passed with only 2 NPA Councillors in opposition. It asks for city staff to study and report back before construction begins on the new hospital. They are to focus on securing the low income units in SROs and other forms of housing within walking distance of the construction area.

Link to a Vancourier article about the motion – councillor-seeks-protection-of-low-income-rental-housing

Full text of Councillor Swanson’s motion – Motion B4


Please write a support letter!!! (Template below)

Please write a letter to the Housing Minister Selina Robinson to support 3,000 tenants living in privately owned SROs who are at dire risk of homelessness due to escalating rents. Under the current law landlords can raise the rent as much as they want when a tenant moves out or is evicted. This gives SRO owners a huge economic incentive to kick their current tenants out. SROs that used to rent for $450 a month are now renting, with quick coat of new paint, for $700 a month or higher

Our goal is to get rent control tied to the SRO unit, so that rents can only go up at inflation, even if a tenant moves out. 

SRO tenants are some of the most vulnerable people in the province, many of whom are only an eviction away from homelessness. Tying rent control to the unit will relieve the stress caused by fear of eviction, prevent homelessness, and help preserve 3,000 low-income housing units. 

On December 10, 2019, the Vancouver Mayor and Council voted unanimously for Councillor Jean Swanson’s motion (see link below) in support of asking the Province to tie rent control to the unit, not just the SRO renter. Councillor Swanson elaborated on many of the reasons this is so urgent in her Georgia Straight article (see link below). On December 19, 2019, the Mayor, on behalf of Council, wrote a great support letter to the BC Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, MLA Selina Robinson (see link below). 

The Minister wrote a letter back to Councillor Swanson on January 15, 2019 saying no to full rent control in SROs. Why? The NDP government is worried that tying rent control to the unit will reduce investment in needed repairs. But if rent control is tied to the unit, SRO owners will still be able to increase the rent 2.5% a year, plus apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch for more extensive rent increases tied to renovations. With full rent control in place, SRO tenants could ask for modest repairs with less risk around retaliatory evictions, buildings will be in better repair, and real estate speculation on these homes will slow down. The Province tied rent control to the unit in the 1970s – repairs were still made during that time. It can be done!

Check out the background information below for good points to make in your own letter or feel free to use the template letter below. 


Background information: 



Selina Robinson, M.L.A. Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing –;  

Cut and Paste these Ministers and City Councillors into the CC field:;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

BCC so we know how many emails have been sent:;  



SUBJECT: something along the lines of: “Support for SRO Full Rent Control”

Dear Minister and Colleagues,

My name is [Full Name]. I’m a resident of [Municipality/City], and work/study in [Industry/Field] and I live in [provincial riding]. As an active member of my community, I am involved with [Organization or Affiliation]

I’m writing to strongly support Vancouver Mayor and Council’s decision to formally ask the province to help slow the loss of the last rentals for very low income people in our city by implementing vacancy control in the Single Room Occupancy Hotels (SROs).

British Columbia is in a housing crisis, and there are a record number of homeless people in Vancouver, 39% of whom are Indigenous. The flow of SRO tenants into homelessness is increasing rapidly as rents go up in these buildings, which are often considered the last rental option for residents before homelessness. The average rent in an SRO is now $663/month, while a person on welfare, disability or old age pension has only about $375/month for rent. Over 85% of SRO tenants in Vancouver are on fixed income and 35% are Indigenous.

Tying rent control to the unit removes the incentive for landlords to find excuses to evict vulnerable tenants in order to replace them with tenants who can pay double or triple the current rents. It will help relieve the stress caused by fear of eviction, prevent homelessness, and preserve 3,000 low-income housing units. This simple change to the RTA would save taxpayers millions of dollars by preventing hundreds of tenants from entering homelessness. It’s the progressive and humane thing to do. 

With vacancy control, landlords will still be able to afford regular repairs. For bigger repair jobs, landlords could access city renovation grants, raise rents through an application to the Residential Tenancy Board, or simply raise the rents every year at the rate allowed by the Province. 

For these reasons and more, vacancy control in SROs was recommended by the City of Vancouver’s SRO Task Force in 2017, approved by City Council at that time as well.

I strongly encourage you to support Vancouver residents and their Mayor and Council by implementing full rent control in SROs now.

Please keep me updated on this issue. 


[Your Name and contact info]

Now Hiring: Managing Director

Job Posting: Managing Director
Closing date: January 17 2020

The Downtown Eastside SRO Collaborative (SRO-C), seeks a Managing Director who brings the experience to provide operational planning and management, strong finance and budgeting skills, HR and personnel management, and a background in grant writing, fundraising, public outreach, and stakeholder relations. The ideal candidate for this position is passionate and knowledgeable about advocating for housing justice, leadership development, and health and wellbeing for the most vulnerable residents of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The Managing Director is supervised by the Board of Directors and will work as a co-equal with SRO-C’s founder and Organizing Director, Wendy Pedersen. A willingness to work collaboratively and share leadership and a drive to actualize the vision of the Organizing Director and Board of Directors will be essential to success.

About the Downtown Eastside SRO Collaborative
The Downtown Eastside SRO Collaborative (SRO-C) seeks to preserve Vancouver’s SRO housing stock and promote healthier living conditions and wellbeing for SRO tenants through tenant organizing. Established in 2015 as a pilot project, SRO-C focused on building tenant committees and organizing for repairs in 5 privately-owned SROs, including high profile cases at the West and Lion Hotels where tenants won major improvements, and at the Regent and Balmoral Hotels where tenants were relocated to better housing. In 2017, SRO-C began organizing networks of SRO tenants for overdose prevention in the privately-owned SROs. In 2018, SRO tenants joined with academics from Queen’s and Simon Fraser Universities to research the past, present and future of SROs and to stimulate a new phase of organizing in the hotels. Now the SRO-C is poised to embark on the next phase of its mission, a 3-year plan to get significant three levels of government investment in the private hotel stock in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

About the Position
Since 2017 SRO-C founding Executive Director Wendy Pedersen has filled both roles of Managing and Organizing Director, developing the organization’s model, funding, staffing, and administration. Now with stable core funding and a series of successes, the SRO-C is poised to embark on the next phase of its mission, a 3-year plan to get renovations, rent control, improved management practices, new peer-led program and tenant committees in every privately-owned SROs. The existing TORO program will also continue organizing and indigenizing tenants around overdose prevention and healing. With this ambitious vision in mind, SRO-C’s Board of Directors is undertaking a staff reorganization designed to free the founder to focus entirely on organizing, developing a program and leading a team of staff and tenant organizers to achieve the goals set forth in the 3-year plan. To achieve this the Executive Director position will be split into two roles, with the Organizing Director focusing entirely on organizing and program development and a new Managing Director position carrying the administrative burden to ensure continued operational and funding stability.

The Managing Director is a skilled operational manager with depth of experience in financial management, fundraising, and administration. SRO-C will employ a minimum of 5 full-time staff, 2 part-time staff, and dozens of peers in 2020. Staff and budget size may increase significantly based on the results of pending funding requests. The Organizing Director will supervise all organizing staff, but will require administrative, HR and team management support from the Managing Director. One office administrator, currently a half-time position, is directly supervised by the Managing Director.

Operational Management and Governance (20%)
– Ensure that all office and administrative systems function effectively, developing new systems and delegating responsibility as necessary.
– Lead in the creation of excellent inter-team communications between organizing and administrative staff by organizing and facilitating regular all-team meetings and implementing functional productivity tools to be used by all staff.
– Ensure that the organization is effectively structured and staffed with competent employees.
– Support the Organizing Director in personnel management, including annual performance reviews of all staff.
– Maintain legal provincial and federal status of the society.
– Work with Board of Directors to schedule regular meetings, recruit new members, and develop processes and policies to enhance board function.

Financial Management and Budgeting (30%)
– Develop and regularly track annual operating budgets with a high accuracy of cash flow projection.
– Work closely with bookkeeper to establish systems for accurate and timely financial reporting; prepare and present to the Board quarterly financial reports including budget to actuals with variance analysis.
– Supervise, train and direct administrative support staff in developing and maintaining all office and operational systems related to finance and administration.

Fund Development (30%)
– Lead or direct staff or contractors in grant prospecting, reporting, and management of the grant process.
– Work closely with the Organizing Director or contractors on grant writing and take responsibility for developing all grant budgets.
– Work closely with the Organizing Director on maintaining and expanding organizational donors and sponsorships.
– Lead the creation and implementation of a robust individual donor program, including small donors and major gifts.
– Explore creative avenues to maximize financial resources and earned revenues.

Marketing/Communications and Public and Stakeholder Relations (20%)
– Work with administrative personnel, organizing staff, volunteers or contractors to maintain and enhance website and social media, including press releases and materials for the general public.
– Work with Organizing Director and Board of Directors to develop and implement a marketing communications and PR strategy, as well as participate in stakeholder communications, coalition building, and partnership development.
– With the Organizing Director, develop and maintain good relations with vendors, strategic partners, community, public agencies, and the media.
– With the Organizing Director, represent the organization to funders, sponsors, and the general public.

Required Experience
– Senior management level experience including leading and managing staff and stakeholders, working with a Board of Directors, delegating and multi-tasking.
– Experience in financial reporting including preparing operating budgets and presenting budget to actual reports and analysis to the Board.
– Grant writing, reporting and fundraising.
– Familiarity with local, provincial and federal funding bodies.
– Knowledge or previous experience with not-for-profit organizations, CRA and BC Society regulations.
– Knowledge of standard accounting procedures and practices.
– Experience in event or project management.
– Mastery of MS Word and Excel; basic understanding of content management software programs.

Preferred Experience
– Knowledge of housing and health policy and advocacy as it applies to Vancouver’s DTES.
– Experience working in DTES communities.
– Experience working with the City of Vancouver or other government bodies.

The selected candidate will be a self-starter with strong interpersonal skills who can prioritize and delegate tasks to deliver desired outcomes in a timely manner. They will be able to effectively manage multiple and at times conflicting priorities. They will be able to create and lead a vibrant team environment with staff, community members, the Board, and other stakeholders to achieve organizational objectives. They will be optimistic and versatile in a position that requires frequent change and flexibility, as well as comfortable working in a busy and often crowded office environment. They should be practical, results-oriented, enjoy frequent interaction with others.

The candidate must be comfortable working with staff and community members with lived experiences of drug use and poverty. They must also be committed to anti-racist and decolonial approaches to their own work and to the creation of community.

SRO-C is committed to an equitable workplace where all staff are compensated fairly and where all senior staff receive identical or very similar compensation.

Starting wage for this position is $52,000 annually with excellent paid time off and benefits (see below). Increased compensation may be possible over time. Applicants for whom this wage is a barrier but who are excited about the position are encouraged to submit an application and share their salary requirements, with an understanding that organizational resources are limited. Paid time off includes approximately 6 weeks paid vacation; the office closes annually for the entire month of August and between Christmas and New Year’s. Employees also receive 5 additional days per year of “flex time” (to be taken off for personal reasons no more than one day at a time). Generous paid sick leave and all BC statutory holidays. While this is a full-time permanent position exempt from overtime pay, when organizational operations allow, time off in lieu can be taken for overtime worked.

Extended benefits package for employee and family is fully paid by SRO-C.

Please send cover letter and resume combined in a single PDF document to:

Interviews will begin the week of January 20, 2020, with an anticipated start date in February 2020.

Contact: Ben Shockey (Search and Recruitment Consultant)
We appreciate the time and effort all candidates place in applying for this position, however, only those selected for an interview will be contacted.