Peer Navigator

Website DESC

Housing and Health to End Homelessness

Job Title: Peer Navigator – Behavioral Health Response Team
Pay Range: $31.52 – $34.81 per hour + $0.50/hr for swing shift
Shift: Swing (11am – 7:30pm)
Days Off: Saturday, Sunday
Location: North King County Outreach
Insurance Benefits: Dental, Life, Long-term Disability, Medical (no premiums/payroll deductions for employee coverage)
Other Benefits: Employee Assistance Program (EAP), Flexible Spending Account (FSA), ORCA card subsidy, Paid Time Off (34 days per year), Retirement Plan

About DESC: 
DESC (Downtown Emergency Service Center) is a nonprofit organization working to help people with the complex needs of homelessness, substance use disorders, and serious mental illness achieve their highest potential for health and well-being through comprehensive services, treatment, and housing. Our vision is a community where no person is abandoned, ignored, or experiencing homelessness.

As the region’s leading provider of services to multiply disabled adults who have experienced chronic homelessness, DESC serves almost 2,000 people each day. Our integrated service model is designed to help people secure and maintain appropriate, safe and affordable housing. DESC is recognized nationally and regionally as an innovator in developing solutions to homelessness.

Job Definition: 
Behavioral Health Response Team (BHRT) is a newer program for DESC and based on the behavioral response first outreach model. The Peer Navigator Case Manager role works in collaboration with a Mental Health Professional (MHP), and a substance abuse counselor to provide a low-barrier response to the needs of the community in regard to mental health, substance use or acute distress. This team will lessen the police first response and provide longer-term services to those in need. Those enrolled with services with this team do not need to have benefits or funding and ongoing case management is optional. BHRT Navigator Peer Specialists work in a culture in which each client’s point of view and preferences are recognized, understood, respected, and integrated into treatment, recovery and community self-help activities. This position requires a high degree of coordination and collaboration with other DESC programs as well as outside agencies. A condition of employment is for this position is to have completed the Washington State Peer Counselor Training and be classified as a Certified Peer Specialist and must have two years working with co-occurring individuals in shelter, housing, outreach, or behavioral health clinics.

The BHRT will receive referrals from first responders, Mobile Crisis Team, and select social service agencies. This team will outreach a person in need of services to connect individuals experiencing mental health or substance use issues to more therapeutic treatment options, other than jail or the emergency room. We are working to stop the trend of criminalizing mental illness, and make sure individuals in mental health crisis get the help they need without involving additional police response. The team works throughout King County from region specific offices and in a wide variety of community settings and in all types of weather. This team will be able to offer connection and case management and will provide 30 days of intensive case management services. The team will maintain the option to provide an additional 2 months of coordination efforts using an outreach and engagement model, to ensure linkages to services and support in the community are achieved.


  • Provide clinical outreach & Peer services to a peer caseload of up to 30 clients at a time in each region.
    Outreach client caseload with Peer team and MHP to shelters, encampments, hospital, streets, and housing.
  • Communicate with and advocate for the person within their faith, neighborhood or other components of the persons’ community.
  • Participate in biweekly supervision, daily check-ins, and weekly team meetings
  • Identify individuals in need, screen for services, develop rapport and trust while offering case management support, and assist with immediate and basic needs to individuals who are homeless/at risk of homelessness, support with connection to long term services.
  • Provide peer recovery support.
  • Work with clients to determine personal recovery goals, shelter, basic needs, connection to providers as desired.
  • Provide assistance in obtaining and coordinating social services for eligible individuals experiencing homelessness. Services including resources related to daily living activities, personal financial planning, transportation, habilitation and rehabilitation services, prevocational and vocational services, and housing services (assessment, applications, and supportive with CEA process).
    Integrate personal experience with mental health concerns and substance use disorders into work with program participants.
  • Help participants identify, understand, and combat stigma and discrimination associated with mental health concerns and substance use disorders and develop strategies to reduce self-stigma.
  • Advocate for clients’ access to community resources and services, ensuring that clients’ needs are met, and rights maintained; consult and collaborate with community providers to ensure continuity of care, facilitate linkages to collaborative resources when appropriate.
  • Assist consumers with voicing their interests and goals through a variety of channels including: Goal Plans, Crisis Plans, WRAP, and other methods of expressing individual preferences for their recovery goals.
    Participate in verbal de-escalation and physical interventions in emergent situations and be willing and able to assist other staff as needed to maintain a safe and secure environment.
  • Other duties as assigned.


  • Certification as a Certified Peer Specialist by the Washington State Peer Counselor Training Program, or the ability to obtain certification within the first 90 days of starting in the position, required.
  • Current Washington State driver’s license and insurable driving record, required.
  • Worked 2 years in behavioral health setting, and experience serving individuals with co-occurring disorders.
  • Ability to obtain a Washington State Department of Health minimum credential as an Agency Affiliated Counselor.
  • Have a strong personal understanding from own experience in recovery and resilience, the value of client partnerships and client choice, and the balance between protection from harm and personal dignity.
  • Be willing to seek to understand each client’s unique circumstances and personal preferences and goals and incorporate them into the crisis response to help the client regain a sense of control.
  • Possess the cultural humility to learn to work effectively with individuals who are Black, Latinx, Native American, Alaska Native, Pacific Islander, LGBTQIA, and other groups who routinely face discrimination and have difficulty accessing the health care they deserve.
  • Interest or experience in working with clients who are difficult to engage and maintain in traditional mental health / substance use disorder programs.
  • Strong knowledge of relevant community resources and methods for accessing them.
  • Experience working with adults who are experiencing or who have experienced homelessness, have a mental health and/or co-occurring substance use disorders.


  • Knowledge of de-escalation skills, crisis intervention & stabilization, and harm reduction strategies, preferred.
  • Experience in outreach or crisis work.
  • Bi-cultural background/experience.
  • Bi-lingual in Spanish/English or other languages preferred.
  • Strong applicants are able to demonstrate the ability to be positive in their empathetic responses to all persons; understand the value of meaningful and deep client engagement; have the potential to acquire the necessary knowledge, attitudes and skills of an effective crisis worker; and value a non-judgmental response to sensitive issues. Candidates should be able to accept feedback and work in a highly collaborative and potentially stressful environment.

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. While performing the duties of this job, the employee will be required sit for long periods of time, communicate with other employees by talking and hearing, required to lift and carry items weighing up to 25 pounds and to operate computer systems. Specific vision abilities required by the job include close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and the ability to adjust focus.

DESC is committed to diversity in the workplace, and promotes equal employment opportunities for all staff members and applicants. The Agency will not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, gender, sexual orientation, age, national origin, marital status, or the presence of any sensory, mental or physical disability in any employment practice, unless based on a bona fide occupational qualification. Minorities and veterans are encouraged to apply.

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