Housing Forward is the only nonprofit organization in west Cook County with a comprehensive, long-term solution for preventing and ending homelessness. Founded in 1992, the agency provides integrated services to at-risk and homeless individuals and families in six areas: emergency assistance, employment readiness, supportive housing, outreach and engagement, supportive services, and emergency shelter. Housing Forward’s goal is to transition people from financial and housing crisis to stability.
Housing Forward is seeking an Intake and Assessment Specialist to provide direction and oversight as the initial point of entry for the intake, assessment and referrals process during Coordinated Entry Walk-In Center hours. The Intake & Assessment Specialist will also be responsible for processing emergency assistance requests (EAR) and connecting individuals and families to homelessness prevention (HP), short term stabilization services (STSS), and employment services as they are deemed eligible. 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.
Job Title: Intake and Assessment Specialist
Department: Emergency Assistance
Reports to: Emergency Assistance and Employment Services Program Manager
Employment Status: Full-time, Exempt
Provide triage to walk-in clients when they arrive to assess the general purpose of their visit and match them with the appropriate services based upon presenting need and housing status.
Based on assessed service needs, connect clients to short-term stability and diversion case management, emergency assistance, homeless prevention, or if appropriate, emergency shelter services.
Assign clients to volunteer counselors
Provide direct client counseling to walk-in clients
Provide ongoing case management and follow-up services for clients as necessary.
Review and process all EAR financial assistance in accordance with established program and funding guidelines.
Oversee distribution of concrete goods to clients and maintain appropriate inventory controls.
Ensure phone calls from individuals seeking emergency assistance or shelter diversion are returned within 48 hours or are referred to appropriate individual.
Maintain in-depth knowledge of referrals resources, ensure resources are adequate and up-to-date and ensure volunteers are well-informed about available resources and supported, as needed, to ensure appropriate referrals are made. Use and update the Solutions Database as needed.
Coordinate internal referrals to Employment Readiness and Money Management and, if homeless, to the PADS Shelter and Support Center.
Refer all clients interested in employment services and in need of employment services to Housing Forward’s Employment Readiness Program.
Administer client satisfaction surveys on a regular basis in conjunction with Compliance Manager
Provide reports as requested by CE Lead, Regional Lead or Emergency Assistance and Employment Services Program Manager.
Ensure accurate and complete client information is entered into HMIS and Salesforce databases.
Operations and administrative responsibilities:
Ensure intake and assessment team has attended required CE and HMIS trainings.
Attend CE meetings as required.
Provide training to AmeriCorps staff and interns regarding policies, procedures and referral resources. Ensure all client counselors are equipped to provide high quality client service.
Ensure that AmeriCorps members, interns and volunteers who are counseling clients are providing high quality client service.
Maintain accurate client records in Salesforce along with any paper documentation.
Provide reports related to client services as required.
Assist in volunteer recruitment and on-boarding activities for EAR volunteers
Assist Program Manager in providing program specific volunteer training to EAR volunteers, including implementation of policies and procedures and client database system.
Coordinate with volunteers, who counsel clients in-person or over the phone, to assess needs and develop individual action plans and to ensure volunteers are accurately capturing all required information about the client interaction.
Report monthly EAR volunteer participation to Program Manager for the purpose of tracking in-kind hours.
Communicate internal program updates and information to EAR volunteers.
Communicate news, client stories and volunteer highlights to Volunteer & Outreach Manager and Program Manager for use in external communications and recruiting.
Ensure a compassionate, confidential and safe environment that maintains client dignity.
Manage client assistance inventory and office supplies.
Attend staff meetings and internal training as required and other community meetings as assigned.
Represent the organization professionally at all times.
Maintain positive relations with clients, volunteers, co-workers, staff from other agencies, agency funders, and the general public.
Interact effectively with persons of diverse backgrounds and treat each individual with respect and dignity.
Demonstrate team behavior and promote a team-oriented environment.
Participate in ongoing development and improvement of all program processes and relationships.
Participate in regular supervisory sessions with staff and Program Manager.
Professional and program development
If requested, participate in relevant industry seminars, workshops and networking events. Read about industry best practices to help ensure programming is in line with industry standards
Participate, as needed, in outreach in community to engage clients and educate the community about how to refer clients for walk-in or phone assistance including shelter diversion.
Bachelor’s degree in social work a related field; may be substituted by experience
1-3 years of experience working with non-profits is a plus
Fluency in Spanish is a plus
Proficiency in Microsoft Office (Word; Excel; PowerPoint) required
Hours of Work
37.5 hours/week. Attendance at signature special events is required and may require evening/overnight or weekend work. This position requires the ability to provide own transportation.
Ability to organize and prioritize work
Ability to present information concisely and effectively, both verbally and in writing
Ability to meet deadlines while managing multiple projects
Ability to work both independently and in a team
Ability to problem-solve and make decisions in stressful situations
The mission of Housing Forward is to transition people from housing crisis to housing stability. Housing Forward is the only social service agency in west Cook County with a comprehensive "housing + services" solution for transitioning individuals and families out of homelessness. Over the past 22 years, we have developed a unique, integrated approach that to date has transformed the lives of more... than 10,000 people. Our solution is comprehensive and long-term, not just a quick fix, which benefits our clients and also the communities in which we operate.