Community Support Specialist-Scattered Sites

Pittsburgh, PA
Full Time
Mid Level

Position: Community Support Specialist (HAP Crisis Shelters) 

Non-exempt   $18.00 per hour       2pm - 10pm including weekends

Functional Definition/Summary:

The Community Support Specialist (CSS) reports to the Director of Shelters & Supportive Services with ongoing mentoring and support in collaboration with the Team Lead.  The position is responsible for providing service coordination and supportive counseling to the participants utilizing our unique HAP Crisis Shelters project while acting as a subject matter expert to case load.  This position’s primary responsibility is to support the participants with housing stabilization.  A strong CSS will understand that the sooner we can help participants into stable housing, the better chance we have at preventing any more trauma related to their impending crisis. 

The goal of our shelter programs is to provide all necessary support to help each participant find and maintain permanent housingThe program will assist in transitioning from homelessness into permanent housing, preventing homelessness while focusing on needed services such as referrals to programs, assisting in applying for entitlements/income, to support them in retaining permanent housing while receiving the treatment necessary to address their physical, mental and behavioral health needs.  CSS will work with other members of community Human Services and the outreach community workers to coordinate admissions. CSS will prepare rooms for new clients. CSS will perform exits when clients are terminated or successfully complete the program. CSS will keep accurate notes in the daily log book and update the census board as needed. CSS will monitor the property and perform routine room checks and client well-being checks while also cultivating professional relationships with these clients and directing them toward resources as requested. CSS will be understanding and compassionate of the homeless community while maintaining professional boundaries and monitoring community interactions. CSS will have some clerical duties such as keeping accurate records, filing termination paperwork with the county, and logging supply use for organization inventory. CSS will communicate with other staff members often to ensure all parties are up to date on property issues and client needs and issues. 

The CSS works independently towards these goals; however, s/he is expected to consult with the director as needed. Other duties include ongoing assessment of participant's needs, progress and goals; use of appropriate therapeutic motivational interventions; community building; progress documentation; continued maintenance and improvement of the program; attendance and participation at staff meetings; assistance to the larger housing assistance programs of CHS; and performance of other administrative, financial, and programmatic duties pursuant to program guidelines and regulations.

CHS uses the Housing First and Harm Reduction service delivery models, assisting clients with housing as the immediate need without requirements to abstain from any harmful behavior prior to being housed or receiving assistance. We help clients identify their own goals and support them to discover safer alternatives.


1.   Perform routine and random file monitoring to ensure data quality and all documentation is  accounted for. Work with fellow staff to correct any deficiencies.

  1. Manage Social Work interns working across multiple housing programs.
  2. Aid staff with crisis intervention, problem-solving with program participants, and providing strategies for therapeutic interventions to help clients achieve their goals.
  3. Work with Program Director and Chief Housing Officer to collect and report data, outcomes, areas for improvement, staff development, and funder reports.
  4. Attend weekly or monthly meetings with Program Director, Crisis Team Leader and Chief Housing Officer to address staffing, programming, funding, and best practices.

Skills and Training

  1. Attend trainings to keep up with best practice service delivery models and philosophies
  2. Train staff on agency philosophy, service delivery models, agency data and technology, and program regulations and protocols
  3. Be the first point of contact to answer any questions regarding program rules, regulations, protocols and policies.

Minimum Qualifications:

  1. Equivalent work, education, and life experience typically gained by a Bachelor’s Degree. 
  2. Adhere and promote the CHS Core Values in all aspects of the work: Quality, Respect, Relevance, Advocacy and Equity.
  3. Experience with helping people in housing programs preferred.
  4. Experience with behavioral and mental health service coordination preferred.
  5. Must have experience working with other social/supportive services.
  6. Excellent interpersonal and problem-solving skills.
  7. Exceptional organizational, communication and case management skills.
  8. Ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing.
  9. Sensitivity towards individuals and families in need of program services, especially those with behavioral, mental and physical health barriers.
  10. Commitment to the project and both agencies’ missions.
  11. Computer literacy with a working knowledge of Microsoft Word, Outlook, and Excel.
  12. Demonstrated ability to maintain professionalism even when dealing with difficult circumstances.
  13. Willingness to accept tasks and responsibilities that help to enhance and improve the program and achieve a high level of customer service provision.
  14. Ability to schedule and manage multiple job responsibilities efficiently and effectively.



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