The Homeless Prevention Specialist will provide homeless prevention services (HP) as part of Coordinated Entry in Suburban Cook County. Coordinated Entry (CE) is a community-wide system to standardize and expedite the process by which people experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness access housing and homeless resources. Through CE, people experiencing homelessness are matched to services and housing based on their preferences and level of need.
The Homeless Prevention Specialist is responsible for evaluating referrals for homeless prevention assistance to determine eligibility for financial assistance, helping eligible participants complete their applications and to help establish payment plans with landlords and direct participants toward resources to assist with securing affordable housing when needed. The HP Case Manager will provide financial literacy/budget counseling and case management referrals for supportive services to help participants develop ongoing stability plans.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities
- Develop and maintain a thorough understanding of rules and guidelines for providing homeless prevention financial assistance.
- Conduct assessments and determine eligibility for financial assistance for referrals received via the Suburban Cook Call Center or from the Coordinated Entry Walk-In Center
- Accurately apply rules and guidelines from multiple funding sources in order to determine eligibility for financial assistance.
- Conduct in-person case management appointments to complete application for financial assistance and provide financial counseling and case management referrals for supportive services to help participants develop ongoing stability plans.
- Accurately and efficiently, process paperwork for eligible participants in accordance with the parameters of the funding source for households determined eligible.
- Submit appropriate funding request, as required by each funding source, on a timely basis.
- Communicate with landlord, if appropriate, on status of participant’s application.
- Individuals who are determined ineligible for financial assistance will be offered stability services case management.
- Complete all HMIS data entry, including client profile, entry/exit screen and service transactions
- Attend Alliance Homeless Prevention Committee meetings on a regular basis and provide informational updates to the team.
- Attend Coordinated Entry meetings and trainings as required.
Other Case Management Activities:
- Maintain a working knowledge of referral sources for housing, vocational and other relevant sources; sensitivity to addiction and recovery, cultural heritage, gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, medical and psychiatric conditions.
- Identify special needs and make appropriate referrals.
- Assist clients, as needed, in developing and implementing individual goals and objectives to attain and maintain housing stability.
- Document services and demographics in HMIS.
- Assist Prevail Manager with monitoring data quality and any required reporting.
- Attend staff meetings as required and other community meetings as assigned.
- Interact effectively with persons of diverse backgrounds and treat each individual with respect and dignity.
- Demonstrate team behavior and promote a team-oriented environment.
- Represent the organization professionally at all times.
- Maintain positive relations with clients, volunteers, co-workers, staff from other agencies, agency funders, and the general public.
- Demonstrate effective communication skills by conveying necessary information accurately, listening effectively and asking questions when clarification is needed.
- Participate in ongoing development and improvement of all program processes and relationships.
- Meet regularly with Prevail Manager for supervision.
- Other duties as assigned.
Professional and program development
- If requested, participate in relevant industry seminars, workshops and networking events. Read about industry best practices to help ensure programming is in line with industry standards
- Participate, as needed, in outreach in community to engage clients.
Minimum Qualifications and Skills:
- Bachelor degree in social work, counseling, related field or at least two years of prior related services.
- Automobile is required.
- Experience working with volunteers preferred.
- Must possess knowledge of issues related to homelessness and poverty.
- Must to able to interpret and apply rules and guidelines.
- Ability to problem-solve and make decisions in stressful situations.
- Must be able to multi-task and possess strong oral and written communication, time management and organizational skills.
- Strong interpersonal skills, demonstrating good listening and empathic skills.
- Proficient in Excel and Word. Must be willing to learn to use HMIS, Salesforce, STARS and other client tracking databases. Prior experience with these databases is a plus.