As an integral member of our LEAP team, the Housing Specialist identifies and supports the housing needs of our domestic violence (DV) program participants through case management and the development and delivery of housing training. Particular focus will be to connect our DV survivors to the Suburban Cook County Coordinated Entry System to secure affordable housing. This role will initially assist coordination of the screening and occupancy process for residents seeking entry to our permanent supportive housing program, with development towards assuming coordination responsibilities after 12 months. The Housing Specialist contributes to creating a warm and welcoming space for women and children and demonstrates an ongoing commitment to the delivery of high quality, trauma-informed services for clients of YWCA Evanston/North Shore.
- Formally assesses the housing needs of program participants through the intake assessment process, including the VI-SPDAT screening tool, and develops individualized strength-based action plans.
- Identifies, assesses, and secures stable housing for our DV survivors.
- Works closely with the Suburban Cook County Coordinated Entry System to connect DV survivors to affordable housing resources.
- Participates in AHAND, Suburban Cook County CE Meetings, and collaborates with other stability services case managers in the COC to ensure best practices.
- Fosters safe and supportive relationships with clients and works collaboratively with domestic violence advocates to deepen support for participants.
- Maintains accurate client records in HMIS, keeps proper documentation and records of participant work including but not limited to reporting documentation, including written narratives on all interactions with clients.
- Advises and coaches participants individually and in small groups on housing strategies.
- Compiles and refers resources to clients based on identified needs including but not limited to affordable housing and housing programs.
Housing Occupancy Coordination
- Assists with maintaining high occupancy level for 15 unit permanent supportive housing facility (Bridges) funded by Housing Authority of Cook County project-based vouchers with an emphasis on homeless women, their children and survivors of domestic violence.
- Assist with processing all eligible clients from initial application to admission into housing program including but not limited to managing waiting list, contacting and interviewing eligible clients, and certifying eligibility.
- Assists with briefing eligible applicants on housing program requirements, regulations, and responsibilities.
- Assists with supporting to Bridges residents in regards to tenant needs such as rental assistance resources and energy assistance.
- Provides bi-annual check-in to assess progress and readiness for tenant based voucher and lease renewal.
- Assists with annual re-certification process for tenants.
- Assists tenants in housing relocation as they exit the program.
- Assists with working with the Housing Authority of Cook County and ensures compliance with HACC regulations and reporting requirements.
Program Development & Training
- Assists in developing housing curricula aligned with current trends and best practices.
- Delivers engaging training on housing for domestic violence program participants.
- Collaborates with financial empowerment program to include housing resources through our financial education classes.
- Develops effective informational tools to share with clients.
- Contributes to the development of program outcomes, benchmarks, and indicators.
- Implements evaluation plan including but not limited to collecting data from clients, entering data into proper technology, and reporting out on data as directed.
- Submits monthly activity reports in timely fashion.
- Reports on goals and objectives identified in government grants and foundations as appropriate.
- Identifies, cultivates, and maintains strategic community partnerships that could contribute to and enrich housing support services and advocates within those organizations for the benefit of our clients.
- Through active community outreach supports participant recruitment goals.
- Attends weekly case review meetings.
- Provides and attends staff training and participates in agency committees.
- Pursues professional development.
- Understands and adheres to all of YWCA Evanston/North Shore procedures and policies as well as YWCA Employee Handbook.
- Performs other duties as assigned by management.
- High School Degree or equivalent required
- Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work or related field preferred.
Experience and/or Training
- Minimum 1 year securing affordable housing for an increasing case load of clients.
- Current on trends in affordable housing.
- Experience in HUD Coordinated Entry process and implementing VI-SPDAT preferred
- Prior experience working with survivors of domestic violence a plus
- Illinois 40-Hour Domestic Violence Certificate (successful completion within 3 months of employment)required
- Valid driver’s license required
- Valid Auto Insurance required
- Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite
- Access to reliable personal transportation for off-site travel for meetings, trainings, and client transport required
- Knowledge of HMIS and Coordinated Entry Data Systems preferred
Environmental, Physical & Mental Demands
- Intermittent nights and/or weekends required for events or meetings
- Occasional transport of clients in personal vehicle or agency-owned vehicle
- Frequent local and intermittent statewide travel required
- Tolerance of prolonged and continuous stationary periods at a desk/computer
- Occasionally required to push, pull, lift and/or move up to 10 pounds
- Must be able to move about the facility
- Must be able to operate controls for computers and other equipment
- Employee may be required to share office space.
- Employee might have frequent meetings or training in off-site locations.
The mental and physical requirements described here are representative of those that must be met by an individual to successfully perform the essential functions of this position.