UVic is Hiring: Program Assistant, Housing Justice Project

Program Assistant, Housing Justice Project (0.4FTE) – Sept 2023 to March 2024

We are inviting applicants to apply for a part-time Program Assistant position with the Canadian Institute for Substance User Research (CISUR) at the University of Victoria. The position will support day-to-day activities on the Vancouver Foundation-funded project, The Housing Justice Project. Learn More: www.ahomeforall.ca



The primary purpose of this research is to advance housing rights by building collective power amongst people who have experienced homelessness, using community-based action research as a strategy.

The Housing Justice Project works with people with lived experiences of homelessness on leadership development and community organizing, identifying the gaps between human rights standards and lived experiences of housing, and basic literacy in housing rights. In Spring 2023, a cohort of people with lived experiences of homelessness developed a shared vision, a statement about who they are, a definition of Adequate Housing, Rules for Storytelling, and identified emerging priorities that government needs to know.

The next phase of the project – from September 2023 to April 2024 will engage the Leadership cohort to develop community organizing skills and undertake research that advances housing rights. In Fall 2024, the project will test a strategy to advance housing rights locally using findings or recommendations arising from the research.



The Program Assistant will report to the project co/leads, Nicole Chaland and Bernie Pauly, and be responsible for various day-to-day tasks, including:

• Booking event spaces and managing catering, taking dietary requirements into account;
• Purchasing supplies;
• Printing/photocopying documents to be used as handouts in workshops;
• Note-taking during workshops and/or transcribing participant notes from flip-charts;
• Working with research staff to ensure stipends are paid to workshop participants and fees are paid to guest speakers/instructors if applicable;
• Set up event spaces including moving furniture, preparing coffee, snacks etc. and cleaning up.
• Organize logistics for online discussions or presentations.
• Assist with document creation, such as workshop handouts, interview guides or consent forms.
• Collecting evaluation/feedback and performing related data entry;
• Maintaining productive and trusting relationships with Co-leads and workshop participants as well as other partners;
• Other duties as required.



The Program Assistant will have strong interpersonal skills and be organized and detail-oriented. A keen interest in developing skills related to research and organizing with people who have experienced extreme housing instability and homelessness is desired. Ideally the person may have lived experience with homelessness and/or relevant combination of education and experiences. Post secondary education in a variety of fields is an asset but not required.

Desired qualifications include:
• Available to attend weekly community sessions in downtown Victoria.
• Interested in housing, homelessness, or substance use and harm reduction issues.
• Interested in working as part of a community university partnership.
• Excellent administrative and organizational abilities, with the capacity to manage multiple tasks.
• Ability to conduct computer work, such as document creation and data entry.
• Ability to work independently and with a diverse team.
• Knowledge of homelessness, human rights, health equity or social justice principles.
• Proficiency in Microsoft Office (Excel, Word, powerpoint) and experience with platforms such as Zoom.

• Interested in and/or knowledge of community based research
• Interested in developing community organizing and research skills



This is a contract position at 0.4FTE (14 hours/week), starting on September 1st 2023 and ending on March 31, 2024, with the month of December off (i.e. working Sept-Nov 2023 and Jan-Mar 2024). The successful candidate will be provided with office space in CISUR at the University of Victoria, located on the traditional territories of the lək􀹂ʷəŋən peoples including the Songhees, Esquimalt and W̱SÁNEĆ Nations. Working from home while based in Greater Victoria is an option. Hourly salary ranges from $25 – $30 per hour based on experience and education.



Interested applicants should forward their résumé and cover letter, or submit any questions, to Jenny Cartwright, Research Manager at CISUR (jlcartwright@uvic.ca). The position is available immediately and applications will be accepted until filled. Only those selected for interviews will be contacted.

Thank you for your interest!



UVic is committed to upholding the values of equity, diversity, and inclusion in our living, learning and work environments. In pursuit of our values, we seek members who will work respectfully and constructively with differences and across levels of power. We actively encourage applications from members of groups experiencing barriers to equity. Read UVic’s full equity statement here: www.uvic.ca/equitystatement


Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research
Technology Enterprise Facility PO Box 1700 STN CSC Victoria BC V8W 2Y2 Canada
T 250-472-5445 | F 250-472-5321 | uvic.ca/cisur | www.colabbc.ca


Program Assistant, Housing Justice Project Job Posting pdf

International Overdose Awareness Day

August 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day. “More than 1,400 British Columbians have died from toxic drugs so far in 2023, putting the province on track for its deadliest year in history for overdose deaths.”

Today we join our voices to the worldwide campaign to end overdoses, the stigma surrounding this issue and to remember those who were taken away from their loved ones.

We also stand in solidarity with those who face ongoing substance use and mental health challenges.


“Deaths from the toxic drug crisis can be prevented. However, stigma and fear of judgement too often force individuals into the shadows, using drugs alone and avoiding life-saving resources” Minister Whiteside.


We call for increased and accelerated action from governments.

And we ask our community to continue working with us to find solutions to prevent and expand services that save lives.

#EndOverdoseNow #hopehasfoundahome

A Multi-Sector Approach to Ending Canada’s Rental Housing Crisis

Canada’s is experiencing an unprecedented wave of new homelessness driven by the high cost of rent, low vacancy rates and a lack of affordable housing options. Well over 263,000 Canadians will experience homelessness this year alone.

To that end, today we join REALPAC and the Smart Prosperity Institute to release: The National Housing Accord: A Multi-Sector Approach to Ending Canada’s Rental Housing Crisis. 

The National Housing Accord’s recommendations provide the blueprint to build over 2 million units of purpose-built rental housing including over 655,000 units of near-market and deeply affordable housing and allows us to take immediate action to stop the wave of new homelessness we are experiencing with a Homelessness Prevention and Housing Benefit.


Recommendations in the National Housing Accord include:

• Creating a Homelessness Prevention and Housing Benefit to provide immediate support for people at risk of homelessness;

• Federal funding for deeply affordable housing, co-operative housing, and supportive housing, along with seniors’ housing and student residences, and doubling the relative share of non-market community housing;

• Reforming the National Building Code;

• Eliminating the GST/HST and changing capital cost allowance provisions on new purpose-built rental housing to incentivize construction;

• Creating property acquisition programs for non-profit housing providers to help purchase existing rental housing projects and hotels, and facilitate office-to-residential conversions;

• Reforming the Canada Housing Benefit to better support individuals and families with the greatest housing needs; and

• Providing low-cost, long-term fixed-rate financing for constructing and upgrading purpose-built rental housing.


Read the full report on the website here.


The Accord is an offer from non-profit and for-profit housing providers, developers, and investors to work with the federal government to build an affordable and healthy rental housing system that achieves the government’s vision of affordable and adequate housing for all.

Our rental housing crisis is solvable. The National Housing Accord lays out a path forward but the federal government must step into their leadership role to make it happen.

Will you send a message now to your MP, the Prime Minister, Minister of Housing and Minister of Finance and demand they support the National Housing Accord?

Send a message

Thank you for your support!

Tim Richter

President & CEO

Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness

Candlelight Vigil in Remembrance and Respect for those who died on the streets of Greater Victoria

Victoria, BC, December 19, 2022 − The Committee to End Homelessness Victoria and the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness (GVCEH) invite the public to join a candlelight vigil at the Whale Wall (Reeson Park, 1304 Wharf Street), Victoria, BC on December 21st at 4pm. Everyone is encouraged to stand alongside those of us with lived and living experiences of homelessness to honor and remember the lives of those who have died in our community in 2022, while experiencing homelessness, poverty, and failures in policy. To acknowledge local Indigenous Protocol, Naw-Hea’Mowha Melissa Barnhard, a cultural support worker with the Songhees Nation, will open the event.

Housing is a social determinant of health. As such, the experience of homelessness, particularly chronic or recurring experiences, dramatically elevates one’s risk of illness, injury, and death. For every age group, our unhoused neighbors die and suffer the same illnesses experienced by people with homes, but at a significantly higher rate. While living on the streets and in poverty, people face exacerbation of health concerns including physical disabilities, mental health challenges, substance use risks, accidents, extreme weather exposures, and are often victims of violence.

According to the 2014 report, ‘Dying in the Streets: Homeless deaths in BC’, the median age of death for person experiencing homelessness in the province of BC is between 40 and 49 years of age. Median life expectancy for this population is anticipated to be reduced because of the drug supply poisoning public health emergency, ongoing since April 2016.

Mayor Marianne Alto will be joining the event to read the City of Victoria proclamation recognizing December 21st, the first day of winter and the longest night of the year, as the “National Memorial Day for Persons Experiencing Homelessness”.

“I am 75 years old. I watch the same thing year after year. When a person is down and out, and needs help, no one is there. Yet look around, now they’re dead, and we are so sad and mourning. Let us do something to keep people alive 364 days of the year! One homeless person dying is one too many…how many will be enough?’ Bill Krampé, GVCEH Lived and Living Experience Council Member.

The Committee to End Homelessness Victoria has been meeting since 2006. We bring together people with lived/living experiences of homelessness and housed allies to find solutions and press for change. We listen to the concerns voiced by people living on the streets and others who experience homelessness in Victoria, and we promise to take action by bringing those concerns to the attention of those who can act and make a positive difference in their lives. We challenge our politicians, bureaucrats, service providers, and police to work collaboratively to change the system and advocate for action that will positively impact the lives of our street family.


– 30 ­-

The Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness (GVCEH) is a partnership of local service providers, non-profit organizations, all levels of government, and business, post-secondary, and faith communities. The GVCEH’s mission is to ensure experiences of homelessness in the Capital Region by 2030 are rare, brief, and non-recurring and that housing and supports are culturally adaptive, creative, caring, and person-centered.



For more information:

Janine Theobald
Director of Collaborative Engagement
Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness

Developer, coalition pitch ‘tiny homes’ for homeless, using shipping containers

A local developer and the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness are joining forces to raise $500,000 to convert 30 shipping containers into a temporary “tiny homes” village.

Luke Mari of Aryze Developments said he approached the coalition ­several months ago in response to the ongoing debate about people camping in city parks. The idea, he said, was to find an intermediary step between tents and permanent homes.

“We thought, what is an interim, rapid solution using existing resources?” he said. “So shipping containers. We, at Aryze, use them for our site construction offices. I was staring at this new one that we just had delivered and I was , like, ‘Why can’t someone live in there temporarily?’

“It’s waterproof. It’s fireproof. It’s heated. We can add windows to these and we can have a common shower facility. That’s really where it started.”

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, who co-chairs the coalition, embraced the idea and will help launch the “Hey Neighbour!” crowdfunding campaign for the project today on CanadaHelps.org.

She said “tiny home villages” have been done successfully in other ­communities. “So why not here in the middle of a pandemic where we can move people pretty rapidly from ­outside to inside in a transitional way?”

A location for the village has yet to be determined, but both Helps and Mari said it could be on either private or city-owned land as a temporary solution to the city’s homelessness issue.

“It’s not meant to be permanent,” Mari said. “What this is meant to do is buy B.C. Housing or others time to be able to school up their modular housing program or if they have to acquire another hotel or build a supportive housing project.”

He said Aryze has donated time, labour and resources to find a container supplier and develop designs that would meet fire and safety codes. Each unit would be 160 square feet with a bed, desk, hot plate, fridge and shared shower and washroom facilities.

“We can build one of these a day,” he said. “So once the assembly line is up and running, we can pound out 30 homes in a month, which is just unheard of.”

The timeline for the project hinges on how quickly the coalition is able to raise the money. “I’m hoping that by end of December we have what we need to place our order and to have people living in these by the first week of February,” Mari said.

In addition to supporting the fundraising, the Coalition to End Homelessness will work with its other partners to make sure that people who move into the tiny homes have the necessary mental health, vocational, peer and other supports they need, said Janine Theobald, inclusion and collaboration manager.

“So that might be supporting individuals who are living at the space to be part of the programming delivery itself,” she said.

Kelly Roth, executive director, said the coalition is always exploring multiple housing options for people and welcomed Aryze’s involvement. “The idea of tiny homes and the possibility of having a developer interested in actually supporting that was very exciting to us — just because it’s not something that we’d be able to do on our own,” she said.

Mari said Aryze gets labelled as a developer. “But, at the end of the day, we see ourselves as home builders, as builders of community. And how can we call ourselves home builders with people living in parks?”


Article: Developer, coalition pitch ‘tiny homes’ for homeless, using shipping containers

Source: Times Colonist


Face-to-Face with the Victoria Police Department

This week the Face-to-Face with Stigma team, a group of facilitators, storytellers and speakers led their second workshop with the Victoria Police Department.

These workshops bring together individuals with lived experience from our community trained in storytelling with The Existence Project to share their own stories through engagement and work sessions. These sessions hold a variety of goals such as ending stigma, building individual capacity and encouraging #compassion in our communities.

These workshops mark the beginning of a series of anti-stigma workshops this year targeting a variety of audiences in our region. The team is sharing the voices of youth, Indigenous and lived-experience, and are creating safe and compassionate spaces of learning, sharing and expanding.

To learn more about this exciting project email team lead and Peer Support Worker, Kay Martin at:


Check out photos from this special day below:

Victoria considers water refill stations, 24-hour washrooms for 900-block of Pandora Avenue

Initiatives recommended by Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness

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Victoria task force proposes outreach team to help city’s most vulnerable

Victoria task force proposes outreach team to help city’s most vulnerable
Read more

Activists battling to prevent closing of Victoria rooming house

Activists battling to prevent closing of Victoria rooming house
Read more