Shelter Support Worker - Housing Counsellor

Job city: 
Job region: 
Greater Toronto Area
Application Deadline: 
Monday, November 20, 2017 - 11:00pm
Job terms: 


YWCA Toronto is an association of diverse and caring women dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls through dynamic leadership, advocacy and a range of unique and essential services that promote personal growth and economic independence.

YWCA Toronto Women’s Shelter provides safe and secure emergency shelter for women and their children who are fleeing violence. The shelter is staffed 24 hours a day and supports 9 families and two single women. In addition to shelter, families are offered case management support and enriching group and community activities to help them deal with the trauma they have experienced and begin to establish lives that are free of violence.

The Shelter Support Worker – Housing Counsellor is responsible for providing a full range of services to women living in the shelter which includes but is not limited to: supportive counselling and referral; crisis counselling; conflict resolution and community buildings; and the development, implementation and evaluation of workshops in the area of housing. She works within a collaborative team within a theoretical feminist framework that includes a working knowledge of the dynamics and effects of trauma and oppression. As a specialist in the area of housing, she acts as a resource to staff and clients.


Reporting to the Manager of Women’s Shelter, the Shelter Support Worker – Housing Counsellor’s responsibilities include:

  • Applies knowledge of the issues of trauma and the dynamics of woman abuse and homelessness to develop and implement effective support strategies
  • Participates in case conferences and acts as an advocate on behalf of residents
  • Provides daily support services to residents (e.g. weekly allowance, bus tickets/taxi vouchers, first-aid, long-distance calls and assists with completion of forms and statements)
  • Uses mediation and counseling skills to maintain a co-operative, supportive, positive and productive house environment
  • Liaises with professionals and agencies in the community to facilitate access to services by the clients
  • Researches, creates and obtains material to address the needs of clients
  • Provides support to the transitional support worker to appropriately respond to the needs presented by ex-residents
  • Provides information and referrals and advocates for clients facing issues of homelessness and trauma
  • Interviews and assesses women on intake, identifying and responding to issues raised
  • Acts as primary worker for women assigned, with responsibility for planning, goal setting and follow-up during the women’s stay
  • Works with women individually and/or in groups to develop and improve social and living skills by assisting them to set goals, follow through on plans, recognize options and make positive choices
  • Applies knowledge, stays current and demonstrates skill in the area of housing support services and acts as a resource to staff and clients on changes in legislation (e.g. Tenant Protection Act, Priority Housing guidelines, Social Assistance/ODSP) and maintains record in these areas
  • Assists women in applying for priority housing and advocates on their behalf as needed
  • Works with housing providers and other stakeholders to increase housing options for residents and ex-residents
  • Facilitates resident meetings to evaluate programs, determine emerging resident needs and encourage a co-operative living environment
  • Provides support and coordination of residents around the shared decision –making and housekeeping responsibilities necessary to maintain co-operative living arrangements
  • Collects and compiles statistics on program user profiles and on program use, in accordance with the reporting requirements of the Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS) and the Women’s Shelter
  • Attends community coalition meetings and speaking engagements as required
  • Supervises students and volunteers, as needed
  • Any other duties as required


You will have:

  • In-depth knowledge of an academic discipline normally acquired through completion of a clinically supervised undergraduate degree (e.g. BSW)
  • An analytical framework that identifies clients' relation to social systems and the demonstrated practical application of this framework
  • Knowledge and understanding of mental health, substance use/addictions, advocacy, refugee and immigration issues and homelessness
  • A certificate in trauma counselling would be an asset
  • Completion of workshops and training pertaining to housing counseling
  • 1 to 3 years’ experience in client centered counseling to at risk and/or homeless women with a focus on housing, support and motivational techniques; demonstrated knowledge of harm reduction principles and practice
  • Demonstrated knowledge of community resources and supports focused on housing, employment, education, Immigration and Refugee, Family and Criminal Legal systems
  • In-depth knowledge of the dynamics of woman abuse and trauma within an anti-oppression framework
  • Life Skills Certificate is an asset
  • Demonstrated experience in the development, delivery and evaluation of housing workshops
  • Experience delivering culturally sensitive services in a multicultural environment
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Word, e-mail and internet; knowledge of a second language and/or culture would be an asset.

Core Competencies: The employee will:

  • Engage in a self-reflective and collaborative practice that is non-judgmental and compassionate and reflects the mission of YWCA Toronto
  • Incorporate principles of diversity and equity in responding to the service needs of women and children and work toward removing systemic barriers to independence and wellbeing
  • Demonstrate respect, consideration and acceptance of the opinions of others while expressing her own expertise and effectively utilizing relevant resources and specialists
  • Consistently collaborate with team members, sharing ideas and differences openly
  • Be receptive to new ideas and adapt to change as necessary
  • Value the contribution of others and take action to strengthen partnerships and support others to achieve effective outcomes
  • Pro-actively identify issues and create opportunities for positive change
  • Demonstrate commitment to ongoing personal and professional development

The hours of work for this position are 35 hours per week (rotating day, evening and weekend shifts; shares on-call duties).
The salary for this position is $48,933 per annum (Level 6), plus comprehensive benefits.

Please note: A police reference check is required by the successful candidate prior to hiring. YWCA Toronto is a unionized workplace. Staff are represented by CUPE Local 2189. This position is within the Bargaining Unit. Please indicate on your cover letter if you are an internal candidate. For internal applicants, this position is not secondable.

How to apply:

Submit your cover letter and résumé by Monday, November 20, 2017 to:

Carla Neto, Manager of YWCA Toronto Women’s Shelter. YWCA Toronto
Shoppers World Postal Outlet
3003 Danforth Avenue, P.O. Box 93647
Toronto, ON, M4C 5R4


Please quote JOB ID number WMSH0024 and your name in the subject line.

YWCA Toronto promotes the principles of anti-oppression and adheres to the tenets of the Ontario Human Rights Code. We encourage applications from women of all races, ethnic origins, religions, abilities and sexual orientations. YWCA Toronto provides workplace accommodation during all parts of the hiring process, upon request, to applicants with disabilities. If contacted, please advise us if you require any accommodation. While we thank all candidates for their interest, only those selected for an interview will be contacted. No telephone enquiries please.

YWCA Toronto is a scent free environment.
Posting Date: November 7, 2017

Thank you to all applicants; however, only candidates selected for interviews will be contacted.

How to apply: