Housing Navigator/Peer Specialist – COAT


Job Title: Housing Navigator/Peer Specialist – COAT
Days Off: Saturday and Sunday
Pay Range: $36,893 – $40,733 annually
Shift: Office Day
Location: Downtown/International District
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
The COAT (Community Outreach & Advocacy Team) Team is recruiting for a Housing Navigator/Peer Specialist role. The COAT Housing Navigator/Peer Specialist is a member of a multi-disciplinary team responsible for providing outreach, engagement and intensive case management services to adults. The model incorporates a modified assertive community treatment (ACT) approach with caseloads of 1:20 with companion-based services to ensure people are identified and assessed, provided low barrier behavioral health treatment, and supported and accompanied to any services or appointments that are indicated. The team consists of behavioral health staff, a psychiatric prescriber, a psychiatric registered nurse, and an Occupational Therapist, all of whom will provide services with an intensive outreach and client-centered approach.
This position is intended to utilize specialized knowledge about CEA and other supportive housing resources to assist individuals with histories of or at risk of legal competency, who are also experiencing homelessness, to access permanent housing which matches their service needs. This position will be a CEA Community-Based Assessor and VAT assessor and conduct housing triage and assessments in a variety of community settings including shelters, streets, jail, hospital, and healthcare settings. The Housing Navigator/Peer Specialist has experience as a participant of mental health and substance use services and is willing to use and share their personal, practical experience, knowledge, and first-hand insight to benefit the team and the people they serve. The Housing Navigator/Peer Specialist provides expertise about the recovery process, advocacy, symptom management, and the perseverance required by participants to have a satisfying life. A condition of employment for this position is to complete the Washington State Peer Counselor Training, if not already completed, and obtain certification within 1 year of employment at DESC. Peer Counselors who meet this goal will move into the Certified Peer Specialist position.
Services will be provided in Seattle and King County areas. Many services will be provided on the streets, in shelters, in jail, and in other service centers as assigned. Some evening hours as needed. This position requires a high degree of coordination and collaboration with other DESC programs as well as outside agencies.
  • Participate as a Community Based Assessor and VAT assessor for DESC and conduct housing needs screenings
  • Enter Data into HMIS to support prioritization and service matching
  • Attend CEA Single Adult Case Conferencing weekly to nominate households to appropriate housing resources
  • Utilize set-asides, housing authority units, vouchers and other subsidized housing resources when available
  • Participate and coordinate as a member of a multi-disciplinary team providing ongoing advocacy and integration of services to mentally ill, homeless and formerly homeless adults
  • Provide outreach and engagement services on the street, jails and in shelters, including in outlying King County areas, with a focus of housing navigation tasks (i.e., obtaining ID, filling out necessary paperwork, attending appointments required for application and leasing for affordable and supportive housing resources)
  • Manage communications with housing providers and individuals’ care teams to accomplish acquisition of housing and move-in
  • Housing Navigators involvement with an individual is completed when they move into permanent housing
  • Provide peer counseling and support, drawing on common experiences as a peer, to validate participants’ experiences and to provide guidance and encouragement to participants to take responsibility and actively participate in their own recovery. Serve as a mentor to participants to promote hope and empowerment.
  • Act as an interpreter to help non-mental health participant team members better understand and empathize with each participant’s unique and subjective experience and perceptions.
  • Provide expertise and consultation from a mental health participant perspective to the team concerning participants’ experiences on symptoms of mental illness, the effects and side-effects of medications, participants’ responses to and opinions of treatment, and participants’ experiences of recovery.
  • Help participants identify, understand, and combat stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness and develop strategies to reduce self-stigma.
  • Help other team members identify and understand culture-wide stigma and discrimination against people with mental illness and develop strategies to eliminate stigma within the team.
  • Increase awareness of and support participant participation in participant self-help programs and participant advocacy organizations that promote recovery & link participants to recovery-oriented services.
  • Comply with the agency’s clinical accountability policies and procedures; maintain timely and complete clinical records; participate in quality assurance reviews when assigned.
  • Comply with applicable program research and evaluation procedures.
  • Other duties as assigned.
  • High school diploma or G.E.D.
  • Certification by the Washington State Peer Counselor Training Program required within 1 year of employment.
  • Current Washington State, Department of Health minimum credential as an Agency Affiliated Counselor in good standing, or the ability to obtain one immediately
  • Must be or have been a recipient of mental health or substance use services, should have self-knowledge to manage his/her mental illness and be well along in their recovery.
  • Ability to communicate to work effectively with consumers and staff from various backgrounds.
  • Ability to work effectively with clients displaying a wide range of unpleasant and/or bizarre behavior.
  • Experience working with adults who are experiencing or who have experienced homelessness, have a mental illness and/or co-occurring substance abuse disorders.
  • Interest or experience in working with participants who are difficult to engage by traditional programs. Ability to deal with participants in a safe, calm & therapeutic manner.
  • Experience in de-escalation and crisis response.
  • Subscribe to the philosophy of cooperation and continuity across programs and of consideration and respect for others.
  • Certification by the Washington State Peer Counselor Training Program
  • Lived experience with the criminal justice system
  • Licensed by the State of Washington as Substance Use Disorders Professional
  • Bachelor’s or master’s degree in relevant social services field
  • Bi-lingual in Spanish/English preferred.
  • Valid Washington State Driver’s License and insurable driving record.
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, 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. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.

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