Housing Support Specialist


Founded: 1981

Mission: To strive for equity for our youth by valuing and supporting the life they envision.

Values: Trust, Respect, Empathy, Inclusion & Advocacy


Position Title: Housing Support Specialist

Employment Classification: Full Time; Hourly, Non-exempt

Reports to: Program Supervisor - Youth Emergency Services  

Department: Programs

Program Summary: Emergency Services and Housing (YE) Program provides engagement, assessment, and resource coordination support to transitional age youth (TAY) (ages 18-24). YE is established to provide a range of housing options that meet the needs of youth experiencing homelessness and to provide crisis intervention and stabilization services so that the immediate crisis these youth face can be resolved, and they can focus on their goals. 

Position Summary: Emergency Services & Housing Specialist – assists and coordinates housing supportive services to meet the needs of youth experiencing homelessness by developing housing and service plans through case management. Enroll youth into the Coordinated Entry System, maintain enrollments, and provide linkages to external services to connect participants to additional long term housing resources.


Major Areas of Responsibility:

  • Provide trauma informed, strength-based, person centered case management services that include assessment of needs, safety planning, advocacy, referrals to supportive services and relationship building and empowerment.
  • Assist participants with navigating and accessing housing options through the Coordinated Entry System/HMIS database, link to YE program funded partners and other programs as needed.
  • Provide ongoing support to assigned case load by coaching and teaching life skills.
  • Maintain strong documentation skills and submit all documentation within a 24-hour time frame.
  • Collaborate with TAY shelters to ensure that residents are connected with resources and transition to long term housing.
  • Build lasting relationships with partner agencies to ensure that we continue to build a network of resources to support our participants.
  • Support participants with community-based housing resources such as emergency, transitional and long-term housing. Always provide a warm handoff when introducing a participant to a new housing resource.
  • Provide encouragement, positive role modeling and life skills through ‘teachable’ moments while assisting participants in exploring and resolving issues related to their situation. 
  • Use Motivational Interviewing (MI) as a collaborative, goal oriented, and person-centered approach to support participants’ positive behavior change.
  • Provide crisis intervention to participants and actively engage with them to reduce risky behaviors by creating verbal/written safety plans and implementing the ‘Stages of Change’, encouraging participants’ autonomy in their decisions, and providing non-judgmental care.
  • Engage in community outreach to identify partners who will best support program participants and their goals.
  • Support the Orangewood Resource Center with hands on coverage, as needed.

Experience Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree completed in Psychology, Social Work, Human Services, or related field is required.
  • Minimum of 1-year experience working with TAY population, and TAY experiencing homelessness is required; 2+ years’ experience is highly preferred.
  • Minimum of 1-year experience with crisis intervention/de-escalation techniques; 2+ years’ experience is highly preferred.
  • Minimum of 1-year experience working directly with Orange County housing resources and programs (emergency, transitional, permanent supportive housing) and 1-year experience working with Coordinated Entry System, HMIS database preferred. 

Knowledge & Skills

  • Demonstrate a moderate understanding of Trauma Informed Care, challenges/barriers with TAY population, resources available within Orange County community. 
  • Ability and flexibility to work in a high crisis, fast paced environment.
  • High tolerance and respect for youth survival actions, while promoting harm reduction strategies.
  • Excellent listening and interpersonal skills and ability to establish rapport with young adults who may be difficult to engage within different community settings.
  • Effective communication skills including writing, public speaking, and conflict resolution/mediation skills.
  • Highly motivated, willing to learn, and able to work independently at times.
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office applications: Outlook, Word, Excel, Power Point.

Essential Qualities

  • Understanding of and passion for the Orangewood Foundation’s mission, vision, and values.
  • Demonstrates operating principles of communication and teamwork.
  • Displays the essential attitudes by approaching projects, activities and other job functions with flexibility and a positive attitude.
  • Displays ethical decision-making ability and confidentiality.
  • Model leadership and professionalism.
  • Ability to multi-task and maintain organization.
  • Must be a detail-oriented team player with the ability to take initiative.
  • Enjoys working with young adults, volunteers, community partners, etc. 

Working Environment/Job Requirements: 

  • When considering this job opportunity, please be aware that the role may involve high stress levels due to mitigating participant crises and potential exposure to vicarious trauma. It is essential to prioritize self-care and seek appropriate support when needed. 
  • Position will require use of personal vehicle. 
  • Available to work weekends and evenings, as needed.
  • Physical requirements include standing, sitting, typing, bending, and lifting up to approximately 50 lbs. (i.e. tables, chairs, food, water, etc.). 
  • Possess a valid California driver’s license and proof of automobile insurance. Position requires DMV clearance.
  • Pre-employment screenings include criminal background check, FBI/DOJ fingerprinting, TB test, drug screen, and previous employment verification. 

Orangewood Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race (including hair texture and protective hair styles such as braids, locks, and twists), religious creed (including religious dress and grooming practices), color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and/or related medical conditions), gender, gender identity (including individuals who are transgender and/or transitioning), gender expression, age, sexual orientation, reproductive health decision-making, military and veteran status, or any other protected group, in accordance with all applicable federal or State laws.

Salary Description
$22.00 - $28.00 per hour