TORO Program Coordinator
Full-Time (September to March 2022) with possibility of extension dependent on funding
The Tenant Overdose Response Organizer (TORO) Program Coordinator works in collaboration with the staff of the Downtown Eastside SRO Collaborative (SRO-C). This position is supervised by the Organizing Director and will work closely with three other TORO Program Coordinator staff to support TORO’s day-to-day operations. The Program Coordinators will be the main point of contact for SRO tenants who are doing overdose and Covid-19 prevention work in their buildings. These staff are high energy, trauma informed workers who can sustain full time hours in intense front line environments, including inside the SROs themselves.
About the SRO-C and TORO:
The SRO-C works to improve Vancouver’s Single Room Occupancy (SRO) housing stock, promote healthier living conditions and 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 tenants with experience using drugs to offer a variety of services in their buildings, including training their neighbours in overdose reversals, giving tips on safer drug use and dispensing kits and other harm reduction supplies from their rooms. TOROs also help with referrals to treatment and other services. TOROs also work with staff to keep tenants in their buildings up-to-date on information about the pandemic and vaccines – and are trained in safely distributing PPE, hot meals, hygiene, and other supplies to isolated tenants in privately owned SRO buildings. SRO-C has an Elder who assists with cultural safety support for staff and TOROs plus to make traditional medicines and events happen for community building for the staff and TOROs. SRO-C is in the process of hiring an Indigenous TORO Liaison Staff person who will help give extra support to Indigenous TOROs and tenants in target SROs.
In 40 SRO hotels (2.5 days a week):
- Arrange for tenants or management to let you into hotels.
- Arrange for one-on-one check-ins with TOROs in their rooms.
- Ensure that a minimum of 50% of tenants in TORO hotels are trained in naloxone/overdose reversal.
- Take sufficient time to do quality one-on-one, door-to-door conversations with tenants throughout buildings, keep stats on who you talk to and frequency of interactions. Empower TOROs to do this work independently for you or with you, as much as possible.
- Identify Indigenous tenants and pass on details to Elder Rhonda and Indigenous TORO staff.
- Identify and track tenants who need referrals to the Overdose Outreach Team and help make these connections happen during your office/warehouse hours.
In office or warehouse (2.5 days a week):
- Order supplies and organize them for distribution days.
- Make connections happen between the Overdose Outreach Team, TOROs and tenants.
- Support TOROs to attend Street Degree and VCH harm reduction workshops.
- Collect and enter stats about who you talk to and frequency of interactions in a notebook and give it to TORO admin staff for reporting.
- Organize a monthly TORO meeting/group training for all TOROs to attend.
- Handle a petty cash and coordinate honorarium payouts, with reporting.
- Connect TOROs to harm reduction related jobs, events, leadership opportunities in the community.
- Extensive understanding of drug use and mental, emotional, physical and spiritual energy to work on the front lines of the overdose epidemic that is killing a minimum of one person a week in the neighbourhood.
- Ability to engage comfortably in safer drug use discussions with individuals or groups.
- Strong interpersonal communication, problem solving and conflict de-escalation and resolution skills.
- Ability to concentrate and be flexible in a fast changing and sometimes volatile environment.
- Capable of working full time doing relational work with people that involves you providing a lot of emotional labour, while getting practical tasks done.
- Solid organizational abilities, including planning, delegating, program development and task facilitation.
- Willingness to enter privately owned hotels and knock on doors.
- Commitment to anti racism and working in a culturally sensitive manner with a diverse community, especially Indigenous people.
- 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, especially Excel or Google sheets.
- Class 5 Driver’s License is considered an asset.
There is one full-time position available at 40 hours per week until March 2022, with possibility of permanent work. Staff are paid $27.00/hour, with health and dental benefits following a three-month probation period. An additional allowance for cell phone and internet bills are provided, and four weeks of paid holidays in your first year of work.
Please send a one-page cover letter, including any previous experience working with drug-users, along with a resume to:
Applications will remain open until the position has been filled.
We thank all prospective applicants for their time, however only those selected for an interview will be contacted.