Shelter Diversion Specialist

Title: Shelter Diversion Specialist

Organization:  A Safe Haven 

Reports To: A Safe Haven

Supervises: N/A

Status: Non-exempt, Temporary full-time (40 hours/week).  Grant funded through Dec. 31, 2022. 

Location: Primarily based at A Safe Haven, but some community work may be required

Position Summary:

The goal of shelter diversion is to end someone’s experience of homelessness as quickly as possible while empowering them to regain control over their situation. This limits the trauma of homelessness on the individual or family and keeps limited shelter beds available for those most in need. The goal of the Shelter Diversion Pilot is to build a network of well-trained diversion experts who are supported by system-level infrastructure that includes management, training, and access to funds.

Shelter diversion is an intensive, short-term intervention that elevates creative problem solving and conflict resolution to empower people experiencing a housing crisis to find an immediate alternative to shelter and return to more stable housing. Through a strengths-based conversation, facilitated by a diversion specialist, individuals and families seeking shelter are supported in identifying immediate alternate housing arrangements and, if necessary, connections with services and financial assistance. Shelter diversion does not act as a barrier to shelter.

The Diversion Specialist is a seasoned case manager who provides intensive short-term case management for clients placed in emergency shelter. Case management includes linkage and coordination with other agencies, identifying barriers to housing stability, client engagement and goal planning, and mediation with the focus on temporary or permanent housing stability outside of the homeless services system. The Diversion Specialist must enter relevant data into both the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) and Single Tracking and Reporting System (STARS) in accordance with agency and project protocols. In addition, the Diversion Specialist is responsible for fostering a safe and trauma-informed environment, must be flexible and creative, and must have the ability to work independently and as part of a team.

Specific Responsibilities:

  • Engage referrals as soon as possible after they enter shelter
  • Complete necessary assessments, assist with goal setting, facilitate regular progress meetings, provide case management as needed, and provide appropriate referrals
  • Complete Shelter Diversion Pilot assessments and updates (30, 60, and 90-day) in HMIS and STARS
  • Connect guest to community resources and financial assistance as needed
  • Facilitate and document diversion conversations
  • Provide landlord mediation and mediation type support for other living situations like family, roommates, or friends
  • Document services in relevant databases mandated by the funding streams used for this project, including both HMIS and STARS
  • Engage guests in an empathetic non-judgmental way (empathy is the intimate comprehension of another person’s thoughts and feelings without adding personally held own judgment or expectations)
  • Be versed in and have a commitment to use a conflict resolution approach, be client-centered and use a housing first philosophy
  • Join the collaborative partnership piloting diversion in Chicago
  • Build professional relationships with guests, providers, and community partners
  • Attend regular case management meetings and other Shelter Diversion Pilot meetings, including Implementation Team meetings and trainings

Successful candidates will demonstrate commitment to preventing and ending homelessness in Chicago and will have the following:

  • Strong interest in and ability to work closely and respectfully with clients who have experienced homelessness and may be dealing with mental health symptoms, substance us disorders, trauma, physical disabilities, and health concerns
  • Ability to demonstrate sensitivity to needs of guests in crisis and to maintain a calm and sensitive demeanor in stressful situations
  • Self-directed and comfortable working independently, without constant direct supervision, and with a team
  • Ability to work from harm reduction perspective and provide trauma-informed care
  • Experience using motivational interviewing
  • Ability to develop and maintain appropriate boundaries with clients
  • Ability maintain professional relationships with diverse groups and community representatives
  • Ability to communicate effectively and respectfully with guests, staff, interns, partner organizations, volunteers, etc.
  • Ability to work as a positive, supportive team member
  • Strong oral and written communication skills
  • Ability to be creative, exercise sound judgment, work independently, and handle multiple tasks
  • Ability to maintain client confidentiality
  • Ability to consistently maintain required documentation
  • Intermediate proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite applications (Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher, etc.)



  • Bachelors’ degree in Psychology, Social Work, Social Justice, or a related social service field is required. An equivalent combination of professional experience and life experience will also be considered.
  • A minimum of 2 years of case management experience working with individuals experiencing homelessness and/or individuals with a history of trauma is required

Work Environment:

A Safe Haven provides the opportunity to work in a shared office environment to allow for cross-program collaboration, involvement, growth experience, and support. The candidate will be provided:

  • Office space in the organizations management area
  • A notebook computer, and access to in-house tech
  • Assigned a company mobile phone/number or phone stipend as needed
  • Access to company vehicle or travel costs as needed
  • Will be assigned to a program supervisors’ cohort for management of this project.


Pay Rate - $28.00/hour

Health and Dental benefits offered.