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

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.

100 Block Rock & Community Consultation

The 100 Block of East Hastings has been at the heart of the DTES fight against gentrification and for dignified, social housing. It has been the center of community battles over safe injection sites and against the worst slumlords in the city. The Regent and Balmoral still stand as empty monuments while the city wrestles over what to do with the property and thousands continue to sleep on the streets.

In preparation for the City of Vancouver’s upcoming decision on the future of the hundred block of East Hastings, CCAP and the SROC hosted a Community consultation.
Named the 100 Block Rock because of the atmosphere, volunteers gave out hundreds of plates of food, took note of peoples ideas and invited the community to dream of what they thought should be done with the stretch of street.

Ideas included an outdoor community lounge, less clinical overdose prevention, more green spaces, memorial trees for those lost to the opioid crisis, low-income affordable housing and fewer lanes of traffic. It was amazing to see how thoughtful the community’s responses were, obviously they had been thinking about these ideas for a long time and had never been given the chance to be heard. It underlines the importance of including the community in these planning processes and trusting residents to know what is best for themselves.

Street Degree Graduation

The SRO Collaborative office has been happy to host recent classes of the Street Degree Program. Through the Street Degree, DTES residents are given the opportunity to train in core areas of harm reduction and overdose response. They offer courses like advanced overdose response, train the trainer, pain management and cultural safety to people that live the opioid crisis everyday.

The TORO program is a big supporter of the Street Degree Program and the TOROs are encouraged and resourced to take classes and track their progress towards graduation. Several TOROs have already completed the program and some have moved on to be able toinstruct the classes. This is all part of the TORO program’s philosophy to not only reduce harm but to teach the TOROs life skills that they can use outside of their roles as overdose responders.

This week was an especially important class. One of our TOROs had completed the program and was honoured with a song and graduation celebration.

We had local indigenous knowledge keepers and singers in the room to mark the occasion. It was a great opportunity to reflect on the benefits that participating in the TORO program and harm reduction organizing more generally has on the DTES community.

SRO-C & TORO Family Sweat

A big part of our mission at the SRO Collaborative and TORO is to reconnect the people of the DTES to the culture and history of our neighbourhood. Through the recognition of our neighbours as complete human beings with hobbies, faiths, families, and so on; we can begin to heal as a community.

So many of the tenants that we work with are indigenous, some from nations far away. While we encourage those that can to reconnect to their roots and traditional teachings, it isn’t always an option for some. For whatever reason they have lost their connection to their family or nation, but that doesn’t mean they have to be completely cut off from culture.

We have recently been so lucky to be introduced to the Vancouver Two Spirit and Friends Sweat Lodge. The lodge is made available by Elder Sandy Laframboise, Butterfly Woman, with permission of the George Family and Tsleil-Waututh Nation. Elder Sandy is very interested in ways of adapting the traditional teachings to make the experience more accessible to folks still using substances and coping with addiction.

This is only one small part of our commitment to centering cultural practices in our harm reduction work. We have already made bannock and braided bracelets in the office and our community has been involved with making drums and song groups.

We are learning very clearly that culture is keys to the healing process. We look forward to continuing to find new ways of including cultural practice in our community organizing work.


To keep up to date on these amazing cultural experiences and for the chance to participate in them with us follow TORO on Facebook.