Program Area

Reports to

Outreach & Engagement Manager

Job Summary

The shelter outreach and engagement specialist is responsible for 1) intake, assessment, and referral services to clients in the Emergency Shelter; 2) facilitation of clients’ move beyond shelter services by linking clients to Housing Forward’s continuum of care; and 3) providing crisis intervention, advocacy and education to and on behalf of clients.  The outreach and engagement specialist strives to build a trusting relationship with shelter guests in an effort to encourage access to services and housing and reduce the length of stay in the Emergency Shelter.

Job Responsibilities

Direct Client Care:

  • Provide hospitality to shelter guests, and ensure a safe and welcoming environment.
  • Screen for homelessness services eligibility and complete initial intake for those who use the Emergency Shelter.
  • Provide clients with an orientation to the shelter and an explanation of services Housing Forward offers.
  • Use trauma-informed and LGBTQ competent engagement techniques to build a rapport with shelter guests and create a safe and comfortable environment.
  • Screen clients for basic needs using a strengths-based model, and provide supplies, resources and referrals to other Housing Forward programs, and other social service venues and agencies, including access to the Support Center.
  • Provide clients with one-time public transportation passes to access the Support Center.
  • Provide targeted outreach to assigned case load as determined by supervisor by regularly engaging clients.
  • Use Motivational Interviewing Skills and other evidence-based techniques with clients to achieve consensus on goals, and practice and teach Harm Reduction and the Housing First / Shelter First model.
  • Provide crisis intervention using Psychological / Mental Health First Aid and non-violent crisis intervention and other skills and strategies as needed.
  • Communicate and cooperate with staff from other programs as needed to ensure seamless delivery of service to clients.
  • Work as a team with the other Inreach staff to alternate responsibilities and negotiate tasks to ensure safety and that all duties are fulfilled.
  • Collaborate with and support volunteers and interns working at shelter as applicable.
  • Provide age appropriate interaction with homeless children and model appropriate adult-child relationships.
  • Provide developmentally appropriate support and referrals to homeless youth encountered and adhere to all agency guidelines and ethics regarding treatment of youth.
  • Provide on-site support to clients enrolled in the Transitional Shelter in operation June-August.
  • Provide outreach to persons living on the street or accessing the Support Center, as assigned.


  • Enter client intakes and attendance sheets into the HMIS system within 3 business days.
  • Safeguard client’s confidentiality by observing guidelines for exchange of information and by maintaining documentation in designated locked locations at all times.
  • Maintain and submit to Outreach and Engagement Manager all service logs and other relevant material in a timely manner.
  • Attend and participate in weekly team meetings, monthly All-Staff meetings, weekly case staffings, monthly trainings, and all other required meetings.
  • Document and report any incidents at the Shelter through the after-hours line and shelter paperwork.
  • Be responsible for safety and proper use of cell phones and other Housing Forward equipment.
  • Record mileage and use of personal automobile according to agency policies.
  • Participate in Housing Forward’s fund raising and public relations events and efforts as needed and to the extent which it does not interfere with other job duties.


Minimum Qualifications

  • Must be at least 21 years of age
  • Completion of GED or high school diploma
  • A Bachelor’s degree in Social Work preferred or related field from an accredited college or university required with minimum of one year experience working in social services 
  • Familiarity with permanent housing options, mental health and substance abuse services
  • Strong computer skills
  • Ability to communicate effectively in a diverse environment is a plus 

Skills Required

  • Excellent engagement skills
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • Knowledge of issues related to homelessness and poverty
  • Strong interpersonal and problem solving skills

Hours of Work

Full-time AmeriCorps Member; 1700 hours to be completed within contracted timeframe. Hours: 2 p.m. – 10 p.m. five days a week, may include weekends.


  • Living Allowance: $13,732 to be distributed in equal allotments every two weeks within the contract term.
  • Education Award: Upon successful completion of the member's term of service, the member will receive an education award from the National Service Trust in the amount of $5,730.
  • Health care insurance for the AmeriCorps member
  • Child care assistance if applicable