Bridges to Housing Stability is currently seeking a Shelter Diversion Housing Advocate. If you are interested in applying for this position, please submit your resume and cover letter to Resumes@bridges2hs.org.
If you are interested in volunteer opportunities, please contact our office at 410-312-5760.
POSITION TITLE: Housing Advocate – Shelter Diversion
Bridges to Housing Stability, Inc. (“Bridges”) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Howard County, MD. Bridges’ mission is to provide a path to self-sufficiency to prevent and end homelessness through affordable housing solutions and advocacy in Howard County. Its vision is for a community in which families working towards self-sufficiency can obtain and maintain housing stability. To that end, Bridges provides affordable housing and/or case management to households who are precariously housed and overburdened with rent, facing eviction and at risk of homelessness, or already homeless. For more information, please see www.bridges2hs.org.
The Shelter Diversion Housing Advocate (the “Housing Advocate”) is part of Bridges’ Housing Stability Program (HSP), which is a client-centered and case-management based program designed to (i) assist families with children, based on needs assessments, in locating and securing affordable and sustainable housing, (ii) support clients in attaining the tools necessary to maintain long-term housing stability and achieve self-sufficiency, and (iii) provide clients with general support and coaching. The Housing Advocate interfaces with clients, other staff, volunteers, landlords, and partnering organizations to satisfy clients’ housing needs and support their self-sufficiency plans. The Housing Advocate also manages resources, processes and data relating to each client. The Housing Advocate will be responsible for managing his/her own cases, but will also be providing overall team backup and support to the other members of the HSP, as directed by the Housing Stability Program Manager (the “HSP Manager”). The Housing Advocate assists with overall HSP goals and specific HSP projects, such as the Tenant Success Certificate Program.
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:
- Maintain Bridges’ standards of confidentiality and professionalism
- Attend, participate and present case information at HSP Meetings, staff meetings and other work group meetings
- Utilize personal phone and vehicle, as applicable, to carry out duties (applicable for reimbursement pursuant to Bridges’ Employee Handbook)
- Represent Bridges and its mission to families, community organizations, funding sources, congregations, volunteers, etc.
- Understand Bridges’ programs and public profile and be able to communicate these as needed outside the organization.
- Collaborate with other staff and third-party consultants on marketing and fundraising campaigns and strategies (including assisting with social media efforts relating to HSP activities and accomplishments)
- Participate in Bridges’ training and, on occasion, networking events and weekend Bridges’ activities
- Other duties as assigned
- Contribute to the achievement of HSP metrics and program goals
- Communicate HSP expectations per the Program Participation Agreement and regularly reinforce the agreement with clients
- Maintain a case load of at least 14 households as assigned by the HSP Manager
- Outreach to landlords in Howard County, to assist clients with getting rapidly-rehoused
- Provide intensive and supportive case management to homeless and at-risk households within the Housing Stability Programs, to include:
- Work one-on-one with clients to assess family’s strengths, establish goals and develop a proposed timeframe for case management services, including all family members 18 years or older.
- Communicate program expectations per Program Participation Agreement and regularly reinforce this with clients.
- Work in partnership with clients to continually assess all barriers to safe, stable, and affordable housing, and identify steps needed to address those barriers, while providing advocacy.
- Counsel households to design individualized goals; encourage and motivate goal accomplishment while providing support.
- Provide ongoing and in-depth financial literacy counseling to teach and reinforce the fundamentals of budgeting, credit, and debt.
- Develop and maintain ongoing relationships with programs and agencies to identify and remain knowledgeable of community resources.
- Work with housed Shelter Diversion Clients, to assess their stability, and goal achievement, to ensure stable exit from program.
- Be available to maintain open, effective communication with clients.
- Accurately document and track all services provided to households & enter into ServicePoint (part of the County’s HMIS) and client files in a timely manner
- Maintain accurate and up-to-date client records in the HMIS ServicePoint database, complying with all HMIS policies and processes for data entry and client confidentiality and collect additional Self Sufficiency Matrix scores of all adult family members
- Assure case files are complete and orderly; complying with Bridges’ standards and grant requirements
- Collaborate with and participate in HSP team problem solving and mutual advisement, including initial assessment, to promote increased effectiveness and efficiency of HSP services
- Provide support to other HSP clients, as needed, in the absence of their assigned case manager/housing advocate
- Coordinate with HSP team to cover each other’s responsibilities as directed by the HSP Manager or as otherwise needed
- Develop and maintain a working knowledge of affordable housing and related resources in Howard County and surrounding areas
- Attend all required program meetings and trainings from United Way of Central Maryland
- Fill out quarterly program reports through online system Community Force to be submitted to United Way.
- A commitment to Bridges’ vision to increase affordable housing in the County to prevent and end homelessness
- Undergraduate degree either in a human services, social work, or related field (Note that 5+ years of relevant experience may be considered in substitution for education),
- 2+ years of human service experience working with low income, multi-challenged families and individuals
- Ability to build and sustain trust
- Ability to motivate and negotiate with a variety of people
- A strong sense of urgency about the importance of preventing and ending homelessness
- Excellent oral and written communication skills
- Proven strategic thinker and problem solver
- Demonstrated resourcefulness
- Proficiency in Excel, Word and PowerPoint
- Familiarity with Howard County resources is preferred
Diversity in organizational practices is a core value of Bridges to Housing Stability, Inc. resulting in culturally competent services, materials, resources, and programs. Our hiring and business practices appreciate the strengths offered through different backgrounds. Bridges is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer.
HOURS: This is a full time (40 hours a week) non-exempt position. Core hours 9-5 but some evening or weekend hours are needed to meet client and landlord availability.
SALARY: Commensurate with experience.
BENEFITS: Bridges provides medical, dental, vision and life insurance, short-term disability, Bridges’ retirement account matching (up to 3% of salary), mileage reimbursement,10 Holidays and 160 hours flexible leave annually.
Visit www.bridges2hs.org for additional information about Bridges and the Housing Stability Program.