The Toronto Shelter Network (TSN), established in 2015, is the umbrella organization for emergency shelters, respite centres and 24 hour drop-ins serving people who experience homelessness in Toronto. Our mandate is to champion the best housing outcomes for people experiencing homelessness and enhance the collective capacity and voice of people with lived experience of homelessness and diverse homelessness service providers in Toronto through knowledge sharing and learning, collaborative planning, research and advocacy. Sites operated directly by the City of Toronto are not included in this job call.

The City’s homelessness system is expanding in order to respond to social distancing and other requirements related to the COVID 19 crisis. The Toronto Shelter Network, in partnership with the City of Toronto (Shelter Support and Housing Administration and Toronto Employment and Social Services) and Toronto Hostels Training Centre, is coordinating a recruitment process that will help homelessness service providers to hire Relief Workers for their sites and programs. This includes shelters, respites, and 24-hour drop-ins in Toronto.

Job Title: Relief Worker, subject to change dependent on hiring agency

Rate: Dependent upon the hiring agency

Hours: Morning, afternoon, overnight, and weekend shifts. Availability of full time, part time and relief hours will be dependent upon the hiring agency’s needs.

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Duration: Temporary and permanent positions will be dependent upon the hiring agency’s needs.


  • To cover front line shelter shifts with minimal notice
  • Support individuals and families experiencing homelessness with regular shelter or respite centre activities, including but not limited to the following:
    • Facilitation of meals which may include serving and some preparation and/or clean-up
    • Process client intakes, transfers, case notes and discharges in accordance with Toronto Shelter Standards and agency policies and procedures
    • Serve as a resource for residents, particularly around finding housing
    • Support residents in attaining their goals, including researching resources and making appropriate referrals
    • Provide support to clients with mental health and substance use issues
    • Provide crisis intervention and conflict resolution supports as required
    • Ensure a safe environment, by performing regular internal and external security checks and administering the rules of the shelter
    • Maintain appropriate professional boundaries with clients, staff and community partners and abide by agency policies and procedures e.g. Anti-Harassment and Discrimination and the Staff Code of Conduct
    • Adhere to Toronto Shelter Standards, agency policies and procedures and all relevant legislation


  • Diploma, Degree or certificate in Social Work, Human Services, Addictions, Mental Health, Community Worker, Child and Youth Worker or related experience;
  • Knowledge of homelessness  issues related to mental health, substance use, or trauma issues
  • Strong client or customer service experience
  • Strong written, interpersonal, and oral communication skills in English. Possessing these skills in languages in addition to English will be considered an asset
  • Demonstrated skills in crisis intervention, and conflict resolution
  • Problem solving and decision making skills under pressure
  • Demonstrated awareness and knowledge of issues impacting homelessness in Toronto
  • Knowledge and/or experience with Indigenous  culture and history
  • Understanding of issues related to anti-oppression and services for trans individuals
  • Understanding of poverty issues and relationship to physical and mental health
  • Literacy in Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, Outlook)
  • Demonstrated experience working within a diverse ethno-racial, multi-lingual community setting
  • Ability to work as a team and on your own with little supervision
  • Knowledge of community based resources for low income people
  • Valid certificates in related training are an asset
  • A satisfactory Vulnerable Sector Criminal Records Check is required if hired
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Working Conditions

  • Working conditions may vary depending on each agency
  • Frequent personal interactions with individuals and families with mental health and substance use issues
  • Working indoors, often in open space areas
  • Lighting: fluorescent and halogen
  • Some computer work
  • Potential exposure to high stress levels
  • Stair climbing
  • Most sites are open 24 hours. Shifts can take place at any time of day, and will include some 12 hour shifts
  • Willing to work in an organization that accommodates animals


  • Please submit a resume and cover letter outlining how you meet the qualifications
  • Make note of all relevant training you have
  • Make note of the sector(s) you would like to work in if you have preference or relevant experience (i.e.,  women, youth, men, all gender or family)
  • Make note of the geographic location that you would prefer to work in (i.e., downtown east, Etobicoke, west Toronto, Scarborough, north Toronto, etc.)
  • If you have preferred agencies that you would like to work for, please also make note of those  agencies
  • Make note of the minimum and maximum hours that you would be available weekly.
  • We strongly encourage you to provide 2-3 references from your relevant employment, student placement, or volunteer experience, to speed up the hiring process. Please include name, organization, phone, and email for each reference.
  • Apply through
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There is no deadline for this posting. Applications will be reviewed as they are received. Workers will be hired on an ongoing basis as shelter needs arise, with some positions starting ASAP.

We thank all applicants for their interest, but only those selected for interviews will be contacted. Interviews will be arranged by telephone or computer.

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