Housing Specialist

Accountability:  This position reports to the Homeless and Prevention Services Program Coordinator 

Job Summary/Function:  The Housing Specialist (HS) is a key team member whose primary responsibilities include developing a housing stock of rentals for Veterans and assisting Veterans with the rental process. The Housing Specialist must engage property owners, building managers, real estate agents, and property management companies to build and maintain a database of units and landlords/property managers in the area. The Housing Specialist is required to work with the Veteran in their search for suitable housing, help facilitate the landlord/tenant relationship, and ensure understanding of tenant responsibilities and obligations. The Housing Specialist works with the entire Operation Military Assistance Program (OMAP) team to assist Veterans with furnishing their apartments and logistics of moving and coordinates with case managers regarding rent and follow-up to assure the apartment is well-maintained and lease obligations are being met. The Housing Specialist will take the lead in addressing any issues related to the property management aspect of the program.

The Housing Specialist shall develop a database for the units and landlords that are working with the program and maintain strong working relationships with landlords, realtors, brokers and fellow OMAP team members. The Housing Specialist will develop and maintains a liaison relationship with property owners in the OMAP catchment area.

Additionally, this position is responsible for outreach to areas where chronically homeless Veterans can be located. The Housing Specialist promotes the development and provides on-going outreach and housing acquisition interventions to promote sustained stability of housing.

DUTIES:

  • Landlord/Tenant Education and Training – Will provide training to both landlords and tenants participating in the Operation Military Assistance Program (OMAP). The curriculum includes education on all aspects of apartment selection and legal rights to both tenants and landlords.  Special emphasis will be on health and safety issues – particularly housekeeping and lead-safe practices.
  • Expand Affordable Rental Units – Staff will work to create an inventory of identified affordable rental housing by providing resources to both landlords and tenants. The Housing Specialist will work to increase the number of affordable quality housing units for tenants participating in the Housing Services program.
  • Process Monitoring – Assist in maintaining a directory of tenants attending workshops, rental assistance requests and payments, and landlords participating in the Operation Military Assistance Program (OMAP).
  • Tenant Placement – Will work directly with potential tenants in need of housing to identify available units and act as an intermediary with the landlords to find appropriate housing. The Housing Specialist will follow up with all parties to ensure the process ran smoothly, and to provide other available units to consider if necessary.
  • Property Inspection – All units will also be inspected visually by the Housing Specialist, per HUD requirements, prior to move-in.
  • Follow-up to Ensure Stabilization – The Housing Specialist will follow up with landlords to maintain the relationship between the landlord and the agencies participating in the Homeless Services program, and to increase the stock of available quality housing. The Housing Specialist will also be in communication with case managers to be sure that housing has stabilized for tenants and barriers have been minimized, and to enhance program areas in need of improvement.

Knowledge Skills and Abilities

  • Knowledge of housing principles, guidelines, laws and concepts.
  • Knowledge of housing market trends
  • Ability to maintain automated housing database(s)
  • Ability to form positive relationships with program participants and current and potential landlords
  • Ability to work with team members to support the needs of Veteran families

Physical Demands

Some walking, handling and carrying of light to moderately heavy objects as required. No special physical demands are required to perform the work.

Qualifications:

  • A Bachelor’s degree from an accredited school of higher education or equivalent experience, preferably in a human services-related program
  • At least two years of experience working within housing and/or real estate, preferred
  • Strong interpersonal relationship skills, understanding and sensitivity to client population, Ability to form and maintain community relationships, Knowledge of housing principles, guidelines, laws and concepts, Knowledge of housing market trends, and understanding of computer systems and processes. Veteran preferred, but not required.

Physical and Other Requirements of Position

Some walking, handling and carrying of light to moderately heavy objects as required. No special physical demands are required to perform the work.

This position requires the ability to perform a broad range of activities.  The position requires full range of motion, including manual and digital dexterity and hand-and-eye coordination.  The position requires vision, speech and hearing capacity that is corrected to normal range, or special accommodations made which are sufficient for the completion of assigned tasks.

The position requires work while seated at a desk, including the use of a computer.  The position requires the ability to lift 30 pounds.  The position requires occasional work under stressful conditions and during irregular hours.

The position requires the ability to drive and regular access to a reliable vehicle.

Training Expectations and Opportunities

Within the first three months of hire, all new employees will receive an orientation to:

  • The organization’s mission, philosophy, goals, and services.
  • The organization’s role within the community.
  • The organization’s personnel manual.
  • The lines of accountability and authority within the organization.
  • The cultural and socioeconomic characteristics of the population their program serves.
  • Applicable COA standards

All staff who regularly have direct contact with clients will receive training on legal issues, including:

  • Mandatory reporting and the identification of clinical indicators of suspected abuse and neglect.
  • Reportable criminal behavior, including criminal, acquaintance, and statutory rape.
  • Issues and responsibilities related to the “duty-to-warn”.
  • The organization’s policies and procedures on confidentiality and disclosure of service recipient information, and the penalties for violations of these policies and procedures.
  • The legal rights of service recipients.

All staff who handle client case records will receive training on proper documentation techniques and the maintenance and security of case records.

All staff who regularly have direct contact with clients will receive training on the following topics, as needed, to be determined by the employee and supervisor:

  • Establishing rapport and responsive behaviors with service recipients.
  • Identifying the needs of individuals and families in crisis, including special service needs of victims of violence, abuse, and/or neglect, and the needs of their family members.
  • Identifying the basic health and medical needs of the service population.
  • Procedures for working with foreign-language speakers and persons with communication impairments.
  • Public assistance and government subsidies.
  • How to advocate on behalf of clients and their families and how to empower service recipients and their families to advocate on their own behalf.
  • Understanding differences within the organization’s service populations, including:
    • Interventions that address cultural and socioeconomic factors in service delivery;
    • the role which cultural identity plays in motivating human behavior;
    • bias and discrimination; and
    • the need for normalizing experiences and social inclusion.

Classification:  Non-exempt

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