Location: Canadian Observatory on Homelessness
Deadline to apply: The position will remain open until filled.
Start Date: September 2021
Salary: $60,000, plus benefits and 3 weeks’ vacation (in addition to 2 weeks over the winter break). 

The Canadian Observatory on Homelessness (COH) is a non-partisan research and policy partnership between academics, policy and decision makers, service providers and people with lived experience of homelessness. Led by Dr. Stephen Gaetz, President & CEO, the COH works in collaboration with partners to conduct and mobilize research designed to have an impact on solutions to homelessness. The COH evolved out of a 2008 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council funded project called the Canadian Homelessness Research Network and is housed at York University. 

To bridge the gap between research, policy and practice, the COH goes beyond the mandate of a traditional research institute. As one of the largest homelessness-dedicated research institutes in the world, we support service providers, policy makers and governments to improve their capacity to end homelessness. Our philosophy is simple: through collaborative approaches across research, evaluation and design, we can develop and mobilize evidence-based solutions and together, prevent and end homelessness.
This role is part of the COH’s action on Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Reconciliation. As we are working with communities across Canada to find solutions to social issues that disproportionately affect racialized individuals, including, Indigenous, Black and people of colour and their families, we understand the importance of increasing the representation of racialized individuals within our staff. Furthermore, Indigenous practices and ways of knowing, being and doing are valued at the COH and we want this knowledge and expertise to have an impact, not only on our work, but on the ways we work. For this position specifically, we also recognize the role that racism can play in the lives of Black youth, both contributing to their pathways into, and experiences of homelessness.

The COH is offering a two-year term Research Position on Black Homelessness, working directly with Dr. Carl James and Dr. Gillian Parekh, Faculty of Education at York University. The focus of this position is to: 

  1. Help co-design and lead the development and execution of Black-led research on the proportion and condition of homelessness among Black youth. 
  2. Develop content for the COH, including literature reviews, policy briefs, position papers, and knowledge mobilization products on the prevention of homelessness of Black youth. 
  3. Develop capacity building opportunities for Black stakeholders and work with community agencies to address homelessness in this population of young people. 
  4. Support knowledge mobilization initiatives that move research into relevant practices by involving dialogue between researchers, practitioners, and other stakeholders. 
  5. Support opportunities for collaboration and innovation by promoting interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral research that might link to national and international research networks and stakeholders. 
  6. Develop funding applications that support the execution of a Black-led research agenda on the prevention of homelessness among Black youth. 

The successful candidate will have experience working with Black youth in community and/or social service agencies. The candidate should also have program experience, strong writing skills, quantitative and qualitative research design and analytic skills. It is also essential that the candidate have a good understanding of homelessness in the Canadian context and an ability to develop and nurture genuine and trusting relationships with stakeholders. 


  1. Researcher who self-identifies as Black (of African Descent; for example, Africans and African heritage people from the Caribbean, Americas, Europe). 
  2. Experience working in research, completed a Masters’ degree, or may have pursued or is pursuing a PhD. 


  • Experience working within the social services sector, specifically with activities related to assistance and housing insecurity. 
  • Experience with quantitative and qualitative data gathering methods. 
  • Comfortable working with SPSS, STATA, R and/or Excel and reporting a plus.
  • Experience conducting interviews, collecting and analysing qualitative data.
  • Experience working with populations who are impacted by the inequitable distribution of power and resources in society, including individuals who experience homelessness 
  • Experience working with Black stakeholders and communities in a research context 
  • Experience writing and developing content products for different audiences, including policymakers; service providers; individuals with lived marginalizing experiences; community workers; and academics 
  • Effective organizational and time management skills 
  • Outstanding writing and communication skills 
  • In-depth knowledge of issues relating to homelessness 

Our Commitment to a Diversity and Inclusion 
We believe in a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment. We seek to ensure equal opportunity for all applicants and encourage everyone who self-identify as Black of any religion, sex, age, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression to apply for this job opportunities. 

Your complete application package must include a cover letter, resume, writing samples (including plain language) and the names of at least 3 work-related references. Please ensure that “Research Associate on Black Homelessness” is quoted in the email subject line. Submit your application by email to Allyson Marsolais, COO, amarsolais@edu.yorku.ca at your earliest possible convenience.

Benefits & Perks:
•    Competitive compensation package
•    Generous vacation entitlement — starting at 3 weeks (plus additional 2 weeks over Winter break)
•    Flexible working hours; work remotely on Fridays (COVID-19 restrictions mean that all staff currently work from home)
•    Growth and development opportunities
•    Health benefits — Medical, Dental & Vision
•    Casual, diverse and inclusive work environment
•    Work perks program with Perkopolis