POSITION TITLE: Coordinated Entry (CE) Housing Advocate
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 family’s 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 CE Housing Advocate (the “Housing Advocate”) is part of Bridges’ Housing Stability Program (HSP), which is a client-centered, housing first, trauma informed, and case-management based program designed to (i) assist clients, 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 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
- Work within Rapid ReHousing (RRH) guidelines and standards for RRH households.
- Communicate HSP expectations per the Program Participation Agreement and regularly reinforce the agreement with clients
- Maintain a case load of at least 18 households as assigned by the HSP Manager
- Provide intensive and supportive case management to homeless and at-risk households within the Housing Stability Programs, to include:
- Performing client intake assessments to assess a client’s eligibility and needs by conducting client interviews, gathering information, reviewing support documentation (as applicable)
- Partnering with clients to assess housing needs, preferences and barriers to safe, stable, and affordable housing; identifying steps to address both needs and barriers
- Guiding households in the development of individualized Housing Stability Plans with the overall goal of permanent housing retention
- Coaching and empowering clients toward the goals of their Housing Stability Plans.
- Identifying and referring clients to community resources to address their Housing Stability Plan goals
- Advocating, in the community, for resources to address client’s Housing Stability Plan goals and linking services within Coordinated Entry System.
- Identify housing needs of CEH client households and, in collaboration with the CEH Housing Locator (as needed), match clients with available housing in the community and surrounding areas
- Networking, negotiating, and incentivizing landlords to assist clients in housing location and placement efforts
- Developing and maintaining relationships with community agencies whose resources can support the goals of client Housing Stability Plans
- Arranging for and providing ongoing and in-depth financial literacy coaching to teach and reinforce the fundamentals of budgeting, credit, debt and timely bill payment
- Arrange for workforce development services, including counseling from employment specialists on searching for jobs, writing resumes, interviewing, job-related conflict resolution, professional development and advancement, etc.
- Maintaining availability, as needed, to promote open, effective communication with clients
- Accurately document and track all services provided to households & enter into Service Point (part of the County’s Homeless Management Information System- HMIS) 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.
- 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
- Treat all clients with respect and dignity
- 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 3+ 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
- Bilingual candidates encouraged to apply
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.
SUPERVISOR: Housing StabilityProgram Manager. As part of the HSP Manager’s role overseeing the overall operation of the Housing Stability Program and supervising the Housing Advocate, the HSP Manager, in concert with the Executive Director, will conduct a 90-day review of the Housing Advocate’s performance, as well as annual reviews thereafter. All annual reviews are conducted at the end of Bridges’ fiscal year, which runs from July 1- June 30. Bridges utilizes a 360-degree evaluation process, which also includes a self-evaluation, evaluations from subordinates (as applicable), and of other management staff with whom the Housing Advocate has regular work-related dealings and contact.
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), and flexible leave.
TO APPLY: Send resume and cover letter Attention: CE Housing Advocate
Visit www.bridges2hs.org for additional information about Bridges and the Bridges Housing Stability Program
Job Type: Full-time
- Dental Insurance
- Health Insurance
- Paid Time Off
- Vision Insurance
- 8 Hour Shift
- Day Shift
- Monday to Friday
- Human Services: 2 years (Preferred)
- Columbia, MD 21046 (Required)
This Job Is Ideal for Someone Who Is:
- Dependable -- more reliable than spontaneous
- People-oriented -- enjoys interacting with people and working on group projects
- Autonomous/Independent -- enjoys working with little direction
This Job Is:
- A job for which all ages, including older job seekers, are encouraged to apply
- Open to applicants who do not have a college diploma