We are seeking a Housing Specialist to serve as a housing resource navigator to individuals and families that receive services at various programs around the County. The goal of the Housing Specialist is to supplement the capacity of the Office of Community Services’ (OCS) funded programs (e.g. Family Support Centers (FSC); Early Learning Resource Center (ELRC)), to address the housing needs and concerns of families and individuals. The Housing Specialist will serve as the “go to” source of information on affordable housing and homeless prevention for program staff to better serve households in crises. The Housing Specialist will also provide direct assistance to participants at the program location. The types of assistance include, but are not limited to: housing search, landlord mediation, housing applications, connection to potential resources for eviction prevention and utility arrears, and linkage to homeless services.
The initial plan is to co-locate at a different program each day per week, including the Early Learning Resource Center and a range of Family Support Centers. As demand for the service is established, the exact locations and schedule will adjust accordingly. This is a mobile position, local and long distant travel as required. Additional responsibilities will include:
- Serving as an information clearinghouse to households and FSC/ELRC program staff on resources for those facing a housing crisis (e.g. assistance with utilities, arrears, security deposits, landlord mediation, etc.).
- Providing families and individuals with direct assistance to help resolve housing crises.
- Serving as an expert on the different types of housing available, the requirements for each, the process for applying, and recommended resources for listings.
- Engaging families and individuals in a way in which they are comfortable.
- Assisting households with completing paperwork and becoming ‘document ready’ for housing.
- Acting as a resource for reviewing leases and explaining tenant rights and responsibilities.
- When needed, advocating on the household’s behalf and when appropriate, assisting the household to empower itself to advocate on its own behalf.
- Tracking all supports provided.
- Participating in staff meetings, trainings and other related events as a resource specialist representing DHS.
- Embracing a “do whatever it takes” attitude.
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
- Knowledge of local, state and federal housing resources and how to access them.
- Knowledge of local resources to help stabilize housing situations, such as utility and rental assistance programs.
- Knowledge of the county’s homeless system.
- Experience conducting searches for affordable housing.
- Knowledge of tenants’ rights and responsibilities.
- Strong interpersonal and relationship building skills in a direct service environment.
- Ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing.
- Ability to build partnerships with a wide range of individuals and organizations.
- Ability to work collaboratively with providers to address families’ needs and to maintain a strengths-based practice.
- Ability to work in a changing environment that may include some ambiguity.
- Ability to efficiently manage time and work well under pressure, while maintaining confidentiality and professional conduct.
- Strong organizational, problem solving and decision-making skills.
- Ability to learn and utilize web-based and PC software, as well as email to develop reports and document services provided.
- Consistent access to reliable transportation with the ability to navigate in the community for work related assignments.
Master’s degree from an accredited college/university in a field of study related to social services, or Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college/university in a field of study related to social services, plus a minimum of 2 years’ experience of field work related to social services. Valid driver’s license and access to a reliable vehicle are required.
If hired for a position, candidates would work for Allegheny County, Department of Human Services and be employed by Great Lakes Behavioral Research Institute.
About Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS)
DHS helps children grow up safer and healthier, older adults remain able to live independently, and neighborhoods to thrive—with the overall goal of improving the health and well-being of people in Allegheny County.
DHS is the largest agency in Allegheny County government, with a budget of nearly $1 billion. It serves more than 200,000 people a year through its staff and a large network of provider organizations. Its services include: Preventing unnecessary nursing home stays and supporting older adults in living safely and healthfully; protecting children and youth from abuse and neglect and preventing future occurrences of maltreatment; improving child wellness through family support, home visiting, early intervention and in-home services; providing treatment for behavioral health issues such as substance use disorders and mental illness; managing the care of adults with intellectual disabilities; and services that prevent homelessness and provide shelter and housing for families and individuals.
It is innovative. Most recently, the national attention and awards we’ve gotten are for how DHS integrates data and uses them to improve the safety and well-being of children through tools that support front-line staff in making decisions (using predictive analytics).
DHS is diverse, but we strive to be even more inclusive. Our director has made it his top priority that DHS is “the kind of place where a diverse group of talented people want to come, grow and do their best work.” This includes equity in hiring and advancement, as well as in unleashing the creativity and ideas of staff at every level of DHS.
It has strong, assertive leaders. We do not hire yes-people.
You can make a big impact here. We stand out as one of the best human services organizations in the country. But we need problem-solvers, innovators and terrific leaders to make sure we are smart
in how we use our funding so that we reach the people who most need our help to make lives better.
“DHS strives to be the kind of place where a diverse mix of talented people want to come to grow and do their best work.”
-From the organization’s statement on Equity and Inclusion
AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER – M/F/V/D