Women’s society offers jobs, homes to Strathcona Park campers

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – As the deadline looms to people living in Vancouver’s Strathcona Park to clear out, a local non-profit is offering jobs and homes to some of them.

Atira Women’s Resource Society and Atira Property Management has eight entry-level positions available at the very homes some of the people in the camp will be moving into.

“We’ve always had a commitment to hiring people from communities,” CEO Janice Abbott said. “This is hearing feedback from the community and about people’s desire to have some influence over their living situation. So we thought if we were able to offer some paid positions to some of the folks at the parks that that would provide that opportunity for them.”

Abbott says the positions are for people who will be living in the same building they’ll be working in, and she already has a few people in mind.

“They’ve been working as peers in the warming tent (in Strathcona Park),” Abbott said, adding Atria has been helping operate the warming tent since January. “They will become employees of Atira rather than peer workers who are paid cash once a week, so they’ll have benefits, a pension, paid leave, and paid holidays.”

She says she hopes the benefits will allow those people to settle in, maintain housing, and potentially find other jobs and homes in time.

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The front desk positions come with responsibilities including connecting with tenants as they come and go, and making sure sure tenants are seen every day. If Atira staff do not see a resident for 24 hours they do a health check to make sure they are safe.

People living in the park have been given until Friday to leave, after being squeezed into smaller and smaller sections of the area. The City says the move is needed to restore the park.

Atira was chosen to operate one location earmarked to house some people currently encamped at Strathcona. The organization already operates the shelters in the former Howard Johnson on Granville Street and the former youth hostel on Burnaby Street in Vancouver.

Atira was also recently named the new manager of the Burns Block building in Vancouver after it was bought by the province.

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