We're Hiring: Housing Overdose Prevention Worker – Victoria

AVI Health & Community Services (AVI) is a multi-disciplinary community based organization, providing HIV, hepatitis C and harm reduction services out of 5 locations across Vancouver Island. AVI provides services to more than 500 people living with HIV and hepatitis C and more than 3000 harm reduction clients. We work within a social justice and health promotion framework – ensuring equity and access to services for all – and from a harm reduction perspective, understanding that clients are the best sources of knowledge regarding the services and supports they need.  

At the core of what we do is our ability, and commitment to, creating meaningful connections. between clients and staff, between peers, between staff members, between organizations, between communities, and between funders and impactful programs. AVI provides comprehensive, accessible and effective education, prevention, care, treatment and support services to residents of Vancouver Island with offices in Victoria, the Westshore, Nanaimo, the Comox Valley and Campbell River.  For more info see www.avi.org

Join our supportive, dedicated and client-centred team in promoting the health, dignity and well-being of all people affected by HIV, HCV and substance use by delivering sex-positive and harm reduction-based education, prevention and/or support services.

Victoria Harm Reduction Services Team provides services for people who use drugs and may be impacted by criminalization, systemic injustice and stigma. Relational care is foundational to the team in providing appropriate and accurate services. Folks accessing supplies for safer drug use, safer sex supplies, overdose   prevention, response and the training are met with care and intention. Harm Reduction services provides supports in various locations as we continue to look for a home for publicly accessible harm reduction services for all. Victoria Harm Reduction Services is located on the territories of the Ləkʷəŋən peoples (Esquimalt and Songhees nations).

Job Summary:

The Housing Overdose Prevention Worker provides a broad range of low barrier, harm reduction supports, overdose prevention/response, crisis intervention, supply distribution, and evidenced based harm reduction education, all done within an “in-reach” context.  This position relies heavily on the abilities of the workers being able connect and develop relationships of trust with residents. This will be formed thru consistent staff interactions based in the principles of harm reduction and a solid understanding of the impacts of colonization, systemic inequities, with a lens of violence and trauma informed practice. This position requires a high level of self-awareness, empathy, ability to provide non-judgmental support, with a solid understanding of personal and community boundaries.

Confidence in an overdose response situation, and the ability to provide leadership, education and support to the “peer resident workers” in overdose response is essential to this position. This includes the administration of naloxone, oxygen and/or rescue breaths to residents and their guests, in various settings within housing sites. This could include common spaces, indoors/outdoors, or private resident rooms. This position relies on flexibility and self motivation, and the ability to identify and respond to resident needs.

Key Duties and Responsibilities:

  1. Provides leadership in the development of a supportive resident community within the buildings, through building trust and mentoring harm reduction principles of relational care, empathy and support.
  2. Provides overdose prevention education, including education on overdose response, and supporting residents with the development of individual safety plans.
  3. Witness and support people who are using substances in a variety of settings. Assess for overdose symptoms and respond with rescue breathing, oxygen and naloxone when necessary.
  4. In-reach supply distribution while providing information and access to in-house and external resources. Follow up with resources and support in making initial contacts.
  5. Use brief assessment, active listening, and crisis response skills as needed in situations with residents.
  6. Works in collaboration with partner agencies within the buildings to provide a continuum of support and care to ensure the success of HOPPS
  7. Provides education and support regarding safer drug use and safer sex, HIV, hepatitis C, and STIs
  8. Ensures all necessary safety precautions are taken to minimize risk for staff and residents we interact with by following protocols related to violence prevention and critical incidents (such as overdose prevention and response, needle stick injury protocols).  This includes the ability to use communication devices (cell phone/2-way radio) to ensure regular check-ins.
  9. Facilitates OD prevention workshops and community meetings related to increasing sense of community, health and wellness within the building(s).
  10. Maintains both paper and electronic confidential client files as required. Fills out critical incident, and overdose response forms as needed within timely manner.
  11. Engages in planning, evaluation, and program development as directed
  12. Performs other duties as assigned


  • Diploma in health or social services (Social Work, Psychology, Mental Health & Addictions Support Worker, etc.), or equivalent combination of education and work experience and/or;
  • Valid Class 5 BC Driver’s License (“Normal” Drivers Status)
  • Driver’s Abstract (AVI will review the past 1 year and driving records will need to have no suspensions or prohibitions or 1 passenger only restrictions.)
  • Proof of Vaccination Status, as required by the Provincial Health Order for Hospital and Community Health Care Services staff  
  • Experiential knowledge of substance use, prison, sex work, homelessness and/or mental health struggles and/or;
  • Demonstrated experience working within a harm reduction framework (paid or unpaid) within communities impacted by systemic injustice, colonialism, racism, and criminalization.
  • Demonstrated understanding of the necessary ongoing involvement of people who use drugs in all aspects of the creation and delivery of harm reduction services, to ensure their relevance and success.
  • Demonstrated ability to contribute to a supportive team environment with a focus on developing trust, transparent communication and critical self reflection while addressing interpersonal dynamics.
  • Demonstrated skills, experience, and knowledge in the areas of the local communities who use drugs, safer drug use, safer sex, sex work, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, mental health, etc.
  • Demonstrated understanding of the ongoing impacts of colonialism and racism, and where your personal privilege and power as a service provider intersect with it.
  • Demonstrated understanding and commitment to harm reduction principles and practices
  • Demonstrated understanding of relational, empathetic, person centered approaches.
  • Demonstrated ability to connect and build trust with a diverse range of folks accessing services; including people who are actively using substances and living with significant health challenges.
  • Experience managing potentially hostile interactions, utilizing non-violent communication and de-escalation skills
  • Demonstrated experience with overdose response, including administration of naloxone, oxygen and rescue breathes.
  • Ability to stay grounded and use creativity, flexibility, and assertiveness when working through complex and often urgent situations
  • First Aid training and experience responding to critical incidents

Skills and Abilities:

  • Physical ability to carry out the duties of the position
  • Ability to work independently and in cooperation with others
  • Ability to carry out physical duties of position
  • Ability to work independently and in cooperation with others
  • Ability to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing
  • Ability to organize and prioritize
  • Ability to establish and maintain rapport with clients and recognize changes in folks
  • Ability to analyze and resolve issues thru conflict resolution and crisis interventions skills
  • Comfortable approaching and initiating conversation with others and ability to build respectful rapport.
  • Ability to work under pressure and in crisis situations
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • Understanding of the psycho-social issues affecting people who use drugs

Position Details:

  • Schedule: Saturday, 1:00pm – 7:00pm and Sunday, 1:00pm – 7:00pm
  • Pay: $26.42/hour to start with stepped increases based on your seniority with AVI. (Pay for this role is based on the BCGEU wage grid 34)
  • Pension: If you are already a member of the Municipal Pension Plan (MPP), you can continue with them at AVI immediately. At this time, AVI contributes an additional 9.7% towards your pension account.
  • Other Perks: This position gets paid an extra 5% in lieu of vacation and 4.6% in lieu of stats, meaning your hourly rate is actually 9.6% higher than listed. 


To Apply: Please send your cover letter and resume to jobs@avi.org 5pm on Monday, May 23, 2022


We strongly encourage applications from, but not limited to, folks who identify as Indigenous Persons, persons of colour, racialized, persons living with a disability, persons who use/d drugs, persons with experience of sex work, persons who live with HIV and/or hepatitis C, and persons representing diverse genders and sexualities.