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South Middlesex Opportunity Council Housing Search Specialist in Framingham, Massachusetts

SUMMARY

The Housing Search Specialist participates as a member of the Family Emergency Services Housing Search team and provides assistance to assigned homeless families placed in SMOC Scattered Sites shelter units. Responsible for relocating families into safe and permanent housing through a coordinated housing search of private market rate housing as well as various subsidized housing programs. In addition to helping families achieve their re-housing plans, the Housing Specialist will develop relationships with outside landlords and community providers to assist in the identification of affordable housing options for homeless families.

PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Provide housing search assistance to client, including assistance and advocacy with the subsidy application process and/or access funds and maximize income in order to obtain and maintain permanent housing.

  • Work collaboratively with Scattered Sites Case Managers to assess each family’s housing and supportive services needs to determine if short-term financial assistance can be accessed to rapidly re-house the family.

  • Responsible for providing housing search support for 25-35 clients.

  • Consult with the assigned case manager regarding development of the initial Re-Housing Plan for each family and work collaboratively to assist families to accomplish re-housing tasks and transition into housing.

  • Work with client to complete HomeBASE application, subsidized housing applications and negotiate lease with landlords

  • Conduct on going appointments with clients at SMOC office sites and at shelter units (this includes offices, buildings and units in Ashland, Framingham, Marlborough, Milford, and Worcester)

  • Coach clients on how to present themselves positively with landlords and property managers, connecting clients to various trainings and additional services offered by SMOC.

  • Provide initial information and referrals for community based resources such as childcare, education, job-training, fuel assistance, behavioral health, food, transportation, legal advice, medical care, counseling, parenting skills, and other services.

  • Maintain client files to include all required documents, completed assessments, housing applications, Re-Housing plans, referrals made, and services accessed; and present it to the ongoing case manager.

  • Maintain ongoing case notes for each family according to office visits, phone appointments, unit visits, to ensure accurate client records; collect and enter all required data into the required HMIS database and ETO.

  • Provide client transportation for housing-related appointments, using SMOC vehicles.

  • Serve as client advocate, mediate and negotiate with landlords, utility companies and third party vendors to ensure client's housing stability.

  • Provide support and coverage for the HCEC/Family Emergency Services front desk, as needed.

  • Participate and collaborate with other SMOC departments and staff to ensure appropriate case coordination between all SMOC programs including the HCEC and Family Emergency Services to assure maximization of services and to avoid duplication of efforts.

  • Participate as a member of the Family Emergency Services division and the HCEC team; attend all staff meetings and other required meetings.

  • Engage all clients by understanding and addressing their needs whether within or outside the scope of work.

  • Attend & participate in engagement team meetings as requested and communicate effectively with clients and staff in other areas.

  • Maintain confidentiality of client, employee and agency information in accordance with federal and state laws and funder requirements.

  • Ensure compliance with program/department, agency and/or funder requirements, as well as, SMOC policies & procedures.

  • Other duties as assigned.

KNOWLEDGE AND SKILL REQUIREMENTS

  • Bachelor's degree preferred and/or 2 years relevant work experience in social services or housing services with low-income, minority and disabled individuals.

  • Must be willing to work a flexible schedule.

  • Must have valid driver’s license, reliable transportation and meet insurance standards.

  • Sensitivity to low-income people of diverse backgrounds.

  • Excellent listening skills.

  • Ability to work independently as well as cooperatively in team environment

  • Strong oral and written communication skills in English; bilingual in Spanish, Haitian Creole or Portuguese preferred

  • Working knowledge of Microsoft Office applications, Internet search, and Outlook E-mail

  • Assessment, advocacy and case management skills a plus.

ORGANIZATIONAL RELATIONSHIP

  • Directly reports to Housing Search Supervisor

  • Direct reports of this position are none.

  • Indirectly report to HCEC Program Director, Scattered Sites Program Director.

PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS

  • Must be able to sit or stand for a prolonged period.

  • Must be able to operate a computer and complete extensive paperwork

  • Must be able to lift 25 lbs.

  • Must be able to ascend and descend four sets of stairs, as some units are on the 3rd and 4th floor of apartment buildings

  • Ability to drive a vehicle.

WORKING CONDITIONS

As part of the responsibilities of this position, the Housing Search Specialist will have direct or incidental contact with clients served by SMOC in various programs funded or administered through the Executive Office of Health and Human Services. A successful background check is required.

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