The rewarding part is helping the residents

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“For the past four years, I’ve been working at a Society in the Downtown Eastside as an administrative assistant, sort of like a receptionist. But I’m actually more like the IT guy, the security guard, the accountant, the clerk.

In a typical shift, I’m doing paperwork for new residents, discharging old residents. I’m handling money because our residents get money delivered to them from an adult guardianship organization. I’m fixing computer problems. I’m answering emails, answering the phone. I might be sanitizing the front door. I’m handling mail, delivering mail to residents in the office. So, it’s quite a challenging job.

The rewarding part is helping the residents because we deal with residents with mental health and addictions issues. 

Our residents are almost exclusively men. So, we’re very atypical. We deal with a very marginalized population, and we have marginalized workers as well. Our team has lots of diversity with a high number of 2SLGBTQIA+ workers, workers with disabilities, older workers, multicultural workers – and we are like family.

I got into health care by accident because I have disabilities. I’m autistic and I have Cerebral Palsy. I have a history degree with honours from the University of Victoria. I originally wanted to become a library technician, but there were too many obstacles, so I took a different career path. 

All of my family works in health care and we’re very into the union thing. The 2022 convention was my first. It was a very interesting experience. I learned quite a lot and connected with a lot of new people. 

I did a local building workshop and they taught us about local mapping, how to get into social groups and how to encourage social groups to attend meetings. 

I will actually be taking back the techniques that I learned in the local building workshop to see if we can get more people to come to our local meetings and be more engaged with the union.”

- David, Administrative Assistant/Receptionist, part of the health care team