Community Living Essex County struggles to find staff amid shortages


A local non-profit organization is struggling to find staffing amid shortages. 

Community Living Essex County is the largest nonprofit employer in Windsor-Essex County, and currently are having a difficult time recruiting support workers and volunteers to the organization. 

Community Living offers support to over 700 children, youth, and adults with intellectual disabilities throughout Essex County. 

They offer services such as accommodation supports, independent living supports, scheduled respite, employment support among many others, however, due to low staff these services are being affected. 

Tony DeSantis, the Manager of Community Relations and Resource Development with Community Living Essex County, says they are looking for workers and students. 

"We're looking for PSW's, DSW's, we're looking for at least a minimum of six months experience working with people with disabilities, intellectual disabilities. We're also looking for students in the social services field."

He says the COVID-19 pandemic affected their staffing significantly.

"COVID-19 significantly reduced our already strained workforce capacity. Although the pandemic restrictions have eased off, our staff shortages continue. The agency has approximately 100 less employees today than it did back in February 2020."


Leslie and Heather from the Community Living Essex County. The organization offers support to over 700 children, youth, and adults with intellectual disabilities throughout Essex County. Jan. 25, 2023 (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Community Living Essex County)

He says the work is very fulfilling. 

"We support people in their lives and their choice of how they live their lives and it's very fulfilling work. So, we're looking for students, recent grads, those who are in social services fields are encouraged to apply. We're looking for completion of the one-year post-secondary diploma or degree in a service field or study would be good, with a minimum of six months experience."

DeSantis says it's frustrating trying to find more employees.

"It's not just about fundraiser's and support, this issue will trying to find employees is frustrating. It's frustrating for everyone. But, yet again, we hope that people will seriously consider taking work with us even if it's starting at a part time position. We've had folks who have been around for a long, long time. Once they're in, it seems that they stay with us, they really enjoy it."

Those interested in applying for a position, or those looking to volunteer can do so on the Community Living Essex County website.

A driver's license is required as well as post-secondary education and/or experience. There are also benefits packages for full-time and part-time employees available as well as paid training, pension plans and pay starting at $22.74 an hour.