The Homeless Support Specialist is a direct service position. The individual in this full time position is responsible for assisting homeless clients with a mental illness and/or chemical dependency to develop the skills and supports necessary to acquire and maintain, suitable, safe and affordable housing. These services will be provided in the client's home and community of choice primarily on a 1:1 basis but may also be provided in group settings. Services will be delivered primarily within Polk, Mahnomen, Norman and Red Lake Counties but may include work in the two other counties served by the agency. This position is supervised by the Homeless Intervention Program Supervisor .
I. Supportive Services Provider Role:
A. Conduct a screening and intake process in a timely manner upon receiving a referral that is consistent with HUD and other grant requirements.
B. Perform Outreach duties consistent with each grant’s requirements and as assigned, including, but not limited to, regular attendance at community based team meetings.
. Upon receipt of referral, contact client in a timely manner, within 24 to 72 hours depending upon emergency status, to make an appointment for intake/screening and assessment of needs.
D. At initial meeting with client, assess eligibility and needs; complete all documents, if possible, as required by appropriate program(s); formulate an initial service plan; and prioritize client’s needs and address the participant’s most critical needs first.
E. Based on individual need, clients will be provided with the following supportive services:
- Assistance in accessing mainstream resources which may include contacting the appropriate personnel at the agency, making the appointment, arranging for or providing transportation, and/or providing advocacy services.
- Assisting client in accessing decent, safe, affordable housing which may include assistance in actual housing search, in the application process for a housing certificate, contacting landlords, initial establishment of the household, and arranging for funding. The latter may include contacting other local resources for a collaboration in paying initial expenses.
- Initial and ongoing assessment of current level of mental, physical and chemical health, and skills and/or progress in home maintenance.
- Assistance in accessing necessary mental, physical, and chemical health services.
- Assistance in securing appropriate employment, entitlement payments, or combination thereof, including facilitating the appeals process.
- Skill building and assistance to organize routine maintenance and in accessing laundry and other community services.
- Assistance in establishing and maintaining an appropriate support system and leisure time activities.
- Skill building and assistance with landlord relations.
- Skill building and assistance with interpersonal relations.
- Skill building and and/or assistance with money management.
F. Work closely with local housing authorities, community action agencies, county social service agencies, treatment and correctional facilities, as well as with landlords in the region to develop and provide a multitude of supportive housing service which meet the needs of the clients served by HIP.
G. Coordinate with project staff, individual clients, outside agencies, and with Northwestern Mental Health Center staff in developing an individualized plan to address each client's needs and goals.
H. Monitor, review, and update as necessary, each client's plan at least quarterly with the assistance of the client and her/his community care team.
I. For clients unable to develop necessary home maintenance skills, assist the client in securing the necessary natural and agency supports.
J. Assist each client, as needed, to contact and remain in contact, with the resources that have been identified as important for participant’s continued progress.
K. Identify and document changes in client after each contact including thoughts or behaviors that may interfere with client's ability to learn identified skills and/or develop identified supports.
L. Provide ongoing personal support services to each client in appropriate environments.
M. Serve as a role model to clients.
II. Housing Support:
A. Assist clients to anticipate their housing needs through individual assessments of personal needs, wants, resources, and skills.
B. Assist clients to apply for and appeal as necessary, housing assistance.
C. Assist clients to locate suitable housing which is safe and affordable using HUD criteria.
D. Assist clients in the initial establishment of a household.
E. Assist clients, as needed, to furnish and equip their housing.
F. Orient clients, as needed, to their home including appliances and community resources.
G. Assist clients to maintain housing including assistance with landlord tenant issues as necessary.
III. Administrative Tasks:
A. Meet quality assurance requirements of Home to Stay (HUD) and of the other HIP grants.
B. Implements HUD rules and regulations as well as those of other funding sources.
C. Complete time sheets, monthly client changes for HMIS, caseload forms, progress notes, and project reports in a timely manner with a high degree of accuracy and thoroughness.
D. This position involves the responsibility of entering Home to Stay and Ending Long-term Homelessness clients in the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) system and updating client information as well as running HMIS reports.
E. Assist with the development of assessment tools and other documents necessary for each grant’s requirements.
IV. Communicator Role:
A. Establish and maintain effective communication with individual clients and external agencies with particular emphasis on other client care team members.
B. Communicate and record contacts, assessments, plans, implementations and evaluations according to established procedures.
C. Evaluate, and modify as needed, personal communication patterns with clients, colleagues and agencies.
D. Contribute to the promotion of a climate that fosters supportive communications and problem solving with clients and among coworkers.
E. Participate in the identification of the need for change in the delivery of HIP services.
F. Communicate plans and schedules at least one week in advance to HIP Coordinator, MHC front desk staff, and clients. Notify supervisor and MHC front desk staff of illness/sick leave.
G. Maintain attendance, as assigned, at Adult Services Division Meetings and community based team meetings.
V. Professional Role:
A. Responsible for the teaching of life skills, home maintenance skills, and those safety skills necessary for clients to maintain a safe home environment.
B. Work with clients as well as with community and county agencies to ensure clients have full access to community amenities, to include assisting clients to access specific service providers.
C. Functions within legal and ethical boundaries consistent with the policies and practices of the Northwestern Mental Health Center, Inc.
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D. Work within established policies and procedures, recognizing and reporting policies and procedures that impede client rehabilitation and support.
E. Function as an advocate for clients.
F. Assume responsibility for continued learning as a means for growth, professional and personal development and maintenance of competence.
H. Assesses own performance.
I. Promotes cost-effective service delivery through the appropriate use of human and physical resources.
J. Serves as a role model for other staff and external agencies.