Community Support Specialist
The Community Support Specialist (CSS) works under the direction of the Director of Housing Assistance Programs to provide service coordination and supportive counseling to the participants of the housing programs.
The goal of the Housing Assistance Program is to assist participants in transitioning from homelessness to permanent housing, preventing homelessness with diversion strategies (eviction prevention), gaining needed services, such as referrals to programs, assisting in applying for entitlements/income, searching for affordable housing, etc. which affords them permanent housing and ends their episode of homelessness. The CSS works independently towards these goals, however, they are expected to consult with the program director as needed. Other duties include: community building, daily progress documentation, continued maintenance and improvement of the program, attendance and participation at staff meetings, assistance to the larger housing assistance programs of CHS, and performance of other administrative, financial, and programmatic duties pursuant to program guidelines and regulations.
CHS uses the Housing First and Harm Reduction service delivery models, assisting clients with housing as the immediate need without prerequisites to abstain from any harmful behavior prior to being housed or receiving assistance. We help clients identify their own goals and support them to discover safer alternatives.
Service Coordination – Participant Involvement
- Provide individual assessment of participant needs. Assist the individual in meeting their goals. This includes a heavy emphasis on need for income, affordable and appropriate housing and other supportive services.
- Provide assistance in locating and securing housing including landlord relations and independent living skills development. This may include working with the Agency Housing Locators and outside partners.
- Provide referral services to appropriate referral base, such as D&A, medical, MH, housing, vocational, educational and family services.
- Establish a supportive relationship with participants to assist them in improving their understanding of themselves including basic issues like respect for differences, individual uniqueness, creating and maintaining relationships and values.
- Advocate for appropriate entitlements and for access to appropriate services with other agencies.
- Encourage and support participants to connect and utilize resources in their communities and build community linkages.
- Conduct monthly home visits to ensure habitability standards are being met.
- Performing routine recertification to include budgeting, assessment of barriers and support systems, and progress on goal plans.
Service Coordination – Administrative Involvement
- Maintains accurate and detailed data tracking mechanisms to ensure positive outcomes for participants and ensures program is in compliance with regulatory bodies.
- Utilizes the CHS database and any other mechanisms required by the program or funders to promptly and accurately record case notes and other critical information.
- Provides feedback on program, process and staff development to help improve processes.
- Maintain adequate online and paper documentation of all participant files and records.
Service Coordination – Programmatic Involvement
- Participate in scheduled CHS staff meetings and other related scheduled meetings.
- Communicate with the CHS staff, other service providers and landlord/building management as needed and appropriate regarding participant issues.
- Assist other homeless assistance staff, both management and program, as needed.
- Maintain open communication and work cooperatively with other CHS staff to establish and fulfill overall agency and program goals and objectives.
- Consult with the program director on strategies to improve the effectiveness of the programs, given agency and program mission and working practices.
- Network and cooperate with external agencies to access appropriate services for all participants of the program.
- Equivalent work, education, and life experience typically gained by a Bachelor’s Degree and 2 years of direct experience in case management/service coordination or combination of work or equivalent level of education, work and/or life experience.
- Adhere and promote the CHS Core Values in all aspects of the work: Quality, Respect, Relevance, Advocacy and Equity.
- Experience with helping people in housing programs preferred.
- Experience with behavioral and mental health service coordination preferred.
- Must have experience working with other social/supportive services.
- Excellent interpersonal and problem solving skills.
- Sensitivity towards individuals and families in need of program services, especially those with behavioral, mental and physical health barriers.
- Exceptional organizational, communication and case management skills.
- Ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing.
- Computer literacy with a working knowledge of Microsoft Word, Outlook and Excel.
- Ability to set priorities and work autonomously.
- Ability to maintain professional boundaries.
- The ability to represent CHS in meetings.
- Ability to schedule and manage multiple job responsibilities efficiently and effectively.
- Have reliable transportation and the ability to travel independently. Significant travel throughout the County is expected. The administrative base office will be in the Strip District.