Skip to Main Content

Substance Use Counselor - CENS

Homeless Health Care Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA
  • Expired: over a month ago. Applications are no longer accepted.
Job Description


The Client Engagement Specialist (CENS) counselor is a registered or certified Substance Use Counselor who will work under the direction of the Director, Program Manager, or Team Lead. The Client Engagement Specialist provides face-to-face services to clients who are involved with state, County, and city entities (e.g., probation, courts), and facilitates access to and completion of Substance Use Disorder (SUD) treatment. The Client Engagement Specialist conducts initial screenings using the ASAM Triage tool and determines which Substance Use Disorder services are most appropriate for individuals based on an ASAM brief triage assessment outcome. The Client Engagement Specialist provides outreach and engagement, eligibility and enrollment, education, screening, appointment scheduling, reminders and follow-up. The Client Engagement Specialist will provide service navigation, ancillary referrals and linkages, documentation and reporting and agency and community education.


  • Performs outreach in order to engage clients in substance use treatment referral services.
  • Verifies client benefits (e.g. Medi-Cal, My Health LA) in order to qualify for treatment services and refer for enrollment assistance.
  • Provides education to clients about the various treatment settings in order for the client to evaluate the program that will best fit their needs.
  • Performs client screenings using the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) triage tool, outreaches to treatment providers for available intakes using the Service Bed Availability Tool (SBAT), schedules intake appointments, and conducts reminder calls and follow-up.
  • Provides service navigation (e.g. coordinating with county entities), ancillary referrals and linkages (e.g. referrals to the Department of Mental Health) and documentation and reporting (e.g. TCPX, CMAR, LRS, Sage).
  • Provides agency and community education to community partners or referral entities on Client Engagement Navigation Services and other treatment-related topics.
  • Documents in the electronic health record (EHR) for the specialty SUD system, known as Sage, and captures client service utilization, progress, and outcome information so this information can be reported to SAPC and the referring state, county, city and hospital entities.
  • Completes the one-time and annual trainings required to conduct services under Los Angeles County’s Substance Use Disorder Treatment System.
  • Implements and consistently practices harm reduction, trauma informed care, housing first and integrated care interventions.
  • Able to serve a diverse vulnerable client populations and communicate effectively in a culturally competent manner.
  • Able to work in a multi-disciplinary team environment, utilizing professional, open and respectful communication. Maintains a solution focused, strengths based and client centered approach with managers, co-workers and clients of HHCLA.
  • Ensures performance management standards are met through ongoing supervision addressing barriers as they arise.
  • Maintains client records according to HIPAA and adheres to all client confidentiality requirements and standards.
  • Complies and maintains familiarity with agency and program policies and procedures and other applicable regulations.
  • Attends and participates in supervision, staff meetings, trainings, conferences, workshops, and special projects to promote professional development.
  • Models HHCLA approach, mission and core values in all communication, correspondence, community events, coalitions and advocacy efforts.
  • Reports to work on time and maintains reliable and regular attendance.
  • Maintains current licensing and/or certification as required for position.
  • Other duties as assigned.



Education and Work Experience:

Client Engagement Specialists will be registered and/or certified counselors. All Client Engagement Specialists will also need to complete one-time training requirements in the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) screening tool, Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, clinical documentation, treatment planning and overdose prevention and Naloxone administration. In addition, they must complete annual training in the topics of HIV/AIDS/STIs/Hepatitis, Cultural Competency, Confidentiality and Human Trafficking and maintain active CPR and First Aid certification.

Knowledge and Skills:

  • Familiar with the principles of Harm Reduction, Motivational Interviewing, Trauma Informed Care, Housing First and Integrated Care.
  • Familiar with the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM).
  • Experience working with culturally diverse communities and vulnerable populations.
  • Ability to effectively present information and respond to questions from clients, office personnel, other employees and the general public.
  • Ability to work in fast-paced, high energy environment.
  • Ability to define problems and use critical thinking skills to identify solutions.
  • Ability to work independently and with others – including other employees, clients and members of the public -- in face-to-face and telephonic contexts.
  • Ability to multi-task, establish priorities and manage time, meet deadlines and perform duties under time constraints.
  • Ability to be flexible and adapt to changing work demands.
  • Maintain high level of concentration and attention to detail for extended periods of time.
  • Ability to respond effectively to sensitive inquiries or concerns.
  • Maintain a high level of ethical and professional standards in accordance with agency policies.
  • Computer literate (basic working knowledge of Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook) and data/electronic records and able to maneuver different websites.
  • Must possess a valid California Driver’s License, properly registered vehicle and insurance.

Certificates, Licenses, Registrations:

  • Registered or certified by a Certifying Organization that is approved by the Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs (ADP) (e.g. CAADE, CADTP or CCAPP) in the field of substance use and addiction treatment. Additionally, per contractual requirements, registered counselors who have not completed any coursework or who have partially completed coursework toward becoming certified must be enrolled in a course equaling a minimum of forty-five (45) hours of formal instruction with an approved substance use disorder education program (e.g. CAADE, CCAPP or CADTP) on relevant substance use disorder related topics, and do so annually until certified. Registered counselors who have completed their coursework toward becoming certified will need to complete forty-five (45) hours of coursework or continuing education units annually until certified. Proof of completion of coursework or continuing education will need to be provided to the supervisor and kept in staff files.
  • All registered counselors must complete the certification process within five (5) years from the date of becoming registered.
  • All counselors must fulfill the continuing education requirements specified in Title 9, Chapter 8, which includes the requirement of completing forty (40) hours of continuing education units every two (2) years.
  • All Client Engagement Specialists must maintain active registration or certification status according to the requirements set forth by their respective credentialing body.


  • Strong written skills
  • Bilingual in English and Spanish and bicultural.
Company Description
Homeless Health Care Los Angeles (HHCLA) is a nonprofit, community-based organization that provides comprehensive behavioral health and holistic health care to address the unique challenges of people who are experiencing homelessness. Driven by socially conscious Angelenos for fellow Angelenos, HHCLA has been providing a pathway to health, recovery and emotional well-being without bias or judgement for more than 30 years. With a continuum of services that includes counseling, substance use treatment, syringe exchange, overdose prevention, and housing with supportive services, HHCLA seeks to improve the quality of life and capacity for stability of the people they serve, and help them secure and stay in permanent housing.

Homeless Health Care Los Angeles


Los Angeles, CA



View all jobs at Homeless Health Care Los Angeles