Harm Reduction Advocates
The Harm Reduction Advocate provides and enhances safe emergency shelter, drop-in services, and intoxication and withdrawal management (WMU). The advocate meets the immediate needs of homeless persons that cannot access other shelter options in the community as well as the needs of the WMU clients. As a direct contact for the guests and clients, the advocate provides a safe and respectful environment while conducting guest intakes, assisting guests with housing, helping make referrals to other agencies and services, and performing a variety of tasks during hours of shelter operation.
Scope of Responsibility:
The Harm Reduction Advocate is responsible for shelter and WMU safety, security, and services to guests and clients when on duty. The shelter serves approximately 35 persons at any one time and assists others who are referred to other agencies. The WMU has the capacity to serve up to 14 clients at any one time. This position includes day, evening, overnight, and weekend shifts and works floating shifts as needed based on shelter and WMU needs. Advocates are considered essential staff as defined by shelter and detox center policy. PRIMARY RESPONSIBLITIES: Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
- Communicates courteously and professionally and maintains working relationships with others in carrying out job functions
- Frequently interacts with others in the work unit, the public, vendors or across departments to exchange detailed and/or technical information.
- Interaction with the public, vendors/ community partners or across departments occasionally includes negotiations involving convincing the other party to do something to achieve a basic work related objective
- Responds to Public Health Emergencies.
- Has a working knowledge of the National Incident Management System for emergency preparedness and has completed the courses required for their job;
- Fulfills roles within the Department's Emergency Operations Plan as determined by Emergency Preparedness and Management staff;
- During an actual emergency, is accessible 24/7 with an established family contingency plan in place.
- Performs all job duties in compliance with safety guidelines and with an ongoing awareness of safety practices.
- Knows and follows department and city rules as well as sound work and safety practices in order to accomplish the job objectives and avoid injury or loss.
- When potentially unsafe conditions are observed makes efforts to avoid or correct them if they are controllable and draws them to the attention of the responsible supervisor or safety representative in a timely manner.
- Wears proper protective equipment when policy requires or conditions indicate a need exists and utilizes proper body mechanics and ergonomics while performing work;
- Maintains a safe and supervised shelter and WMU environment; facilitates the efficient and effective operation of the shelter and WMU on a day-to-day basis.
- Coordinates shelter guest and WMU client check-in process including bed assignments, bag and property checks, breathalyzer checks, and assessments for safety;
- Completes the intake process with new shelter guests and WMU clients and ensures all needed information has been obtained;
- Provides intake, assessment and monitoring per shelter and WMU policy.
- Provides shelter guests or WMU clients with essentials such as food, fluids, toiletries, etc.
- Assures access to emergency services for guests and clients as necessary;
- Completes all paperwork, maintain and update shelter guest and WMU client files, and clearly communicate with other shelter and WMU staff through written and verbal reports;
- Completes and maintains necessary records, maintaining confidentiality and complying with regulations regarding client confidentiality.
- Utilizes the employee communication log to summarize relevant events of each shift;
- Reads the employee communication log before beginning shift duties;
- Communicates, complies with, and enforces all shelter and WMU rules, policies, and procedures;
- Focus on building relationships with shelter guests and WMU clients; this includes but is not limited to meeting basic needs, identifying additional needs based on their current situation, being available to answer questions, and assisting with problem solving, while demonstrating empathy and acceptance;
- Utilizes strategies consistent with industry models such as the Harm Reduction model when working with shelter guests; effectively manages crisis and conflict situations;
- Greets volunteers and offer support for their efforts, supervision, and assistance as needed;
- Completes required training and developmental activities, including continuous learning about issues regarding homelessness substance use and behavioral health as well as the availability of social support systems.
- Provides community based services (i.e. social services, homes health, etc.) with adequate resources and space to meet with shelter guest or WMU client. Promotes drop-in services as scheduled.
- Provides veteran's drop-in services as outlined per contract with Veteran's Administration.
- Continuously develops understanding and knowledge of area resources in order to refer and connect guests to services.
- Promotes on-site services and communicates as needed with agencies that are a part of the Gladys Ray network (i.e. shelters, housing, police, WMU staff, etc.)
- Assists with maintaining facility compliance with all federal, state, and local laws and regulations.
- Maintains current knowledge of standards and codes relating to shelter and WMU operations;
- Assists with maintenance and upkeep of the building and grounds.
- Performs other duties and activities as assigned.
MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS: The job requires a High School diploma or GED and two years experience working in the Human Services Field such as working with low income and homeless populations, substance use, and/or behavioral health programs or any combination of education and experience sufficient to successfully perform the essential functions of the job. A valid driver's license is required for incumbents who are assigned to drive a City vehicle.
Knowledge, skills and ability include:
- Ability to communicate effectively in both verbal and written forms;
- Knowledge of local, state and federal laws, regulations and codes relating to social service activities;
- Able to convey accurate information and/or representation of the mission of GRS and WMU, and to educate the general public on issues of homelessness;
- Ability to multi-task, prioritize, organize, and manage time effectively;
- Patience, flexibility, and a self-starter;
- Ability to take direction from and provide direction to others;
- Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with others;
- Commitment to maintaining confidentiality and appropriate boundaries;
- Commitment to developing cultural competencies and respect for diversity and the differences between people and groups;
- Ability to use Microsoft Office applications.
PHYSICAL DEMANDS: Physical Demands & Working Conditions:
Medium Work: Most work is performed in a homeless shelter and WMU environment. Work is generally medium with considerable variety. Daily work often involves moving within the facility and traveling to local meetings or to obtain supplies. Intermittent driving may be required. The job involves activities related to crisis prevention and intervention. Frequently there is a requirement to actively participate in day-to-day maintenance activities. There may be intermittent exposure to disagreeable working conditions associated with guest or client behavior, illness or hygiene. This job includes day, evening, overnight, and weekend shifts. Incumbents work a floating shift schedule as assigned.
Some requirements in this job description may exclude individuals who pose a direct threat or significant risk to the health and safety of themselves or other employees. All requirements are subject to modification to reasonably accommodate individuals with disabilities.
Requirements are representative of minimum levels of knowledge, skills, and experience required. To perform this job successfully, the worker must possess the abilities and aptitudes to perform each duty proficiently.
This document does not create an employment contract, implied or otherwise, other than an "at will" employment relationship. The City Administrator retains the discretion to add duties or change the duties of this position at any time.