Housing Specialist (Ssvf)
General Summary: Through the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program, we help veteran families to secure permanent housing. SSVF provides case management to link families to housing and benefits and provide temporary financial assistance with housing or moving expenses. In collaboration with the SSVF team, the Housing Specialist supports veterans with housing identification, move-in and rent assistance, and rapid re-housing case management and services. The Housing Specialist develops relationships with landlords and property managers. This includes developing rental registries, managing lease options & negotiations, conducting inspections of units, and ensuring rent is reasonable and affordable. The Housing Specialist provides follow-up advocacy to landlords on behalf of SSVF participants, providing tenancy supports. This position deploys knowledge of housing, credit, financial planning, benefits and community resources to promote housing stability. This position also employs a variety of evidence-based interventions including motivational interviewing, harm reduction, relapse prevention and trauma informed care to provide client centered services to Veterans. Principal Responsibilities and Duties: 1. Actively recruit, foster and maintain relationships with Veteran-friendly landlords and property managers, advocating on behalf of SSVF participants and providing support to both veterans and property management. Be responsive to landlords to preserve and develop partnerships for the purpose of future housing placements. 2. Identify apartment, and other appropriate housing vacancies, and travel to potential placements with participants as needed. 3. Develop methods of tracking landlord partners and unit vacancies, unit locations, characteristics, and costs, ie through rental registries. 4. Work with participants to assess housing barriers, needs and preferences in order to develop housing action plans. 5. Ensure rapid and smooth transitioning into the community, coordinating and securing rental assistance, furniture banks and moving assistance. 6. Conduct housing quality inspections of properties and ensure all units pass rent reasonableness as defined by HUD. 7. Utilize and coordinate housing efforts with Case Managers, local Housing Authorities, other programs working with housing assistance. 8. Liaison with identified collaborating organizations and vendors to mitigate barriers to housing, eg: credit, legal issues, rental history. 9. Assist with post-placement housing stabilization services via follow-up, reporting back to team. 10. Perform due diligence and case management to help participants secure income to maintain housing (through employment, public benefits, and/or on-going rental assistance) 11. Respond quickly (within one business day) to landlord calls about serious tenancy problems; seek to resolve conflicts around lease requirements, complaints by other tenants, and timely rent payments; Whenever possible, negotiate move-out terms and assist the person/household to quickly locate and move into another unit without an eviction. 12. Maintain service notes, housing statistics and track successful SSVF services and outcomes via HMIS and other systems. 13. Meet regularly with SSVF Team, assisting with other tasks to ensure securing and maintaining housing. 14. Deploy exceptional verbal and written communication with clients and partners. Any email or phone call requiring a response from the housing specialist should be issued within 24 hours of receipt (during work week) 15. Provide transportation to clients, as necessary. Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities Required: 1. Bachelor's degree required in Human Services, Real Estate, or related field. 2. 3-5 years of related experience. 3. Commitment to "Housing First" philosophy and strategies. 4. Excellent oral, written communication and interpersonal skills. 5. Knowledge of housing, tenant rights, and related areas. 6. Ability to travel within the community, some rare weekend availability 7. Experience with computers and knowledge of Microsoft Office. 8. Valid driver's license and a car. 9. Ability to maintain personal and professional boundaries 10. The ability to work collaboratively with other personnel and/or service providers or professionals. 11. Education, experience, certificates or licensure related to housing or real estate (eg HUD Housing Counselor certification, real estate licensure, property management experience) 12. Experience working with people experiencing homelessness 13. Experience with chronic behavioral health issues and/or knowledge of substance use disorders preferred. 14. Spanish speaking ability is preferred but is not required. Working Conditions: Note: Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable a qualified individual with a disability(s) to perform the essential functions of this position. 1. This position is largely community based with time allocated to an office setting. 2. Ability to maintain moderate physical activity within the community to include walking (including stairs), lifting, and driving. 3. Frequently visits and inspects rental property across the state of Maryland.