The Housing Navigator provides support and assistance to families and individuals experiencing homelessness and to households that are at imminent risk of losing their housing. The Housing Navigator is responsible for receiving and assessing referrals from Coordinated Entry and facilitating the transition for households determined eligible for Rapid Re-Housing (RRH) and Transitional Housing for Veterans (TH-VA) services to housing, This position also serves as a general housing resource for households served by the agency’s walk-in center.
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.
- Working with Case Managers and the Housing Coordinator, identify appropriate housing units for clients in the RRH and TH-VA programs, with the goal of housing clients within 30 days of acceptance into the program.
- Assist clients in the RRH and TH-VA programs in their housing search, including applying for apartments, negotiating with potential landlords, and accompanying participants to apartment viewings as needed.
- Provide participants with listings of potential housing options in alignment with participants’ housing needs and geographic preferences.
- Assist with landlord and Public Housing Authority (PHA) applications for permanent housing as needed
- Assist the household with acquiring the necessary documentation and mitigate issues with credit reports, utility arrears, and unfavorable landlord references as necessary.
- Arrange for timely inspections and landlord corrective action.
- Determine rent reasonableness for inspected units prior to rental assistance and lease approval.
- Explain and review the lease and sublease agreement with the incoming participant(s)/sub-tenant.
- Assist households with acquisition of furniture and move-in essentials.
- Conduct follow-up with participants/sub-tenants and landlords after housing placement; assist Case Management staff in mediating any landlord/sub-tenant issues that may arise.
- Working with RRH TH- VA Case Managers, develop a plan with participants to move to permanent housing.
- Participate in bi-monthly CE Housing Placement Team meetings to update status of clients currently in the process of being housed and to receive new placement assignments.
- Working with Case Managers, CE Referral Coordinator and the CE Housing and Referral Manager, identify appropriate housing units for clients at risk of or experiencing homelessness.
- Establish positive relationships with participants in assessing their housing needs. Provide participants with listings of potential housing options in alignment with participants’ housing needs and geographic preferences.
- Ensure efficient housing placement by helping participant gather and complete required documentation, facilitating communications with landlords and housing case managers, and attending appointments as needed.
- Assess housing affordability rates for participants based on their income and HUD guidelines as applicable.
- Communicate regularly with CE Housing and Referral Manager and CE Referral Coordinator regarding issues that arise during the housing referral process.
- Provide housing resource expertise to CE Walk-In Center staff as needed.
- Attend all CE required training and participate in CE meetings as requested.
- Comply with HMIS reporting and data quality standards.
Landlord/Property Management Relation Responsibilities:
- In collaboration with the Housing Forward Housing Coordinator, connect with landlords via neighborhood outreach, Internet search, and networking events.
- Build and maintain positive relationships with private landlords and other housing providers to expand Housing Forward’s landlord portfolio;
- Advocate with landlords for participants with such rental barriers as prior evictions, poor credit, and criminal history;
- Conduct rent reasonableness assessments and complete environmental reviews on buildings where units are located.
- Conduct apartment inspections and work with landlords to correct any deficiencies.
- Maintain accurate participant/tenant files, including entering data into HMIS.
- Document and retain copies of all communications with landlords and sub-tenants.
- Work closely with the client’s assigned Case Manager to ensure that housing placement is consistent with overall service plan.Inform Case Manager of any changes in housing status or other housing issues.
- Update and maintain accurate monthly rental assistance schedules for all funding streams.
- Attend weekly staff and case review meetings.
- Participate in on- and off-site staff trainings, workshops, and outreach events as needed.
- Work in a team approach to deliver existing programs and to develop new programs.
- Participate in Housing Forward sponsored events.
- Perform other duties as needed.
Knowledge, Skills and Experience:
Demonstrated desire and ability to work with individuals and families who are disabled and homeless, providing appropriate support, motivation, and compassion in accordance with Housing Forward mission and philosophy of service.
- Ideal candidate will have at least two year of experience working with homeless populations or working with issues of homelessness, affordable housing, and/or housing discrimination.
- Bilingual preferred (Spanish and English).
- Ability to work independently and as part of a team.
- Demonstrates experience and ability to interact sensitively and respectfully with persons of different backgrounds, culture, etc.
- Demonstrates common sense and good judgment.
- Demonstrate a working knowledge of Housing First and Low barrier housing principals.
- Knowledge of Public Housing Authority and housings subsidy programs (i.e., Section 8, Shelter Plus Care, Bridge Housing, VASH).
- Working knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite.
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
- Ability to work independently and as part of a team.
- Desire, creativity, and flexibility to work in a new and fast growing agency.
- Willingness to work flexible hours as needed and have impeccable attendance.
- Must have a car and valid driver’s license.
- Ability to handle various projects concurrently.
- Bachelor degree in related field or at least two years of prior supportive housing-related services.
- Ability to lift and/or move 50 lbs.
- 9:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
- Must be willing to work occasional evenings or weekends
- Full-time equivalent 37.5 hours per week
HOUSING FORWARD is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, veteran status, national origin, or disability. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to talk or hear, sit, use hands, reach with hands and arms, stand, walk, walk up and down stairs.