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7 Dec 2023

Full-Time Housing Search Specialist, Drug User Health Program

Fenway Health – Posted by Employment@fenwayhealth.org Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Job Description

The Access: Drug User Health Program at Fenway Health provides harm reduction services to people who use drugs including syringe exchange, case management, medical care, and overdose prevention services. The Housing Search Specialist works as part of the Access: Drug User Health program to help clients who are experiencing homelessness get their most basic need met: a stable place to live. Housing stability offers people who use drugs the safety and security to pay better attention to their health and overall well-being, and to help them stay HIV-negative.

Under the supervision of the Harm Reduction Case Manager, the Housing Search Specialist provides intensive and comprehensive housing search and advocacy services to people who use drugs and are at high risk of acquiring HIV.


Representative Duties:

  • Works with a caseload of 20-25 clients to provide low-threshold housing search services in a harm-reduction setting
  • Coordinate services with the Drug User Health Program clinic team, Medical Case Managers, and other service providers to arrange appointments with clients and to gather documentation necessary for eligibility and enrollment. Support housing referral process as needed.
  • Complete assessments for each client in the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system, including housing history, factors affecting social determinants of health, and potential barriers to housing.
  • Determine appropriate housing possibilities and create an individualized housing service plan including short and long-term goals associated with stable, affordable housing.
  • Work directly with clients to identify potential housing options that meet their individual needs, complete applications, and attend housing-related appointments with clients, including interviews, appeal hearings, apartment viewings, and lease signings.
  • Work with clients to identify and resolve any possible barriers to obtaining housing. Discuss criminal, credit, and eviction history. Request CORI and credit reports with all clients willing to do so and work to problem solve. Work with Fenway’s legal services team to plan strategies to appeal housing denials and present mitigating factors.
  • Work with clients to access rental assistance programs, utility assistance and/or other supportive services related to housing stability. Assist clients with all steps of the move-in process including lease up, arranging movers and setting up furniture bank appointments.
  • Offer drop-in hours within a needle exchange setting to provide consult/question and answer sessions to clients who are not part of a housing caseload, but who have basic questions about accessing housing services.
  • Regularly engage in outreach to potential referral and collaboration sources responsible for administering affordable housing options such as housing authorities, landlords and private management companies to remain informed of available housing, open waiting lists, eligibility requirements and application processes.
  • Maintain and expand a network of relationships with provider organizations, housing authorities, low-income housing property managers, and potential landlords.
  • Maintain timely and accurate records of all client interactions within the electronic medical record
  • Perform related duties and projects as assigned


  • Minimum two years of experience in a related field.
  • Knowledge of local and state affordable housing services
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Commitment to practice harm reduction in all interactions with program participants
  • A keen interest in, or working knowledge of HIV/AIDS community trends, harm reduction, trauma-informed care principles, motivational interviewing and at-risk populations (including people who use and inject drugs, formerly incarcerated people, and people engaged in transactional sex work).
  • Ability to work harmoniously and effectively with colleagues, patients, clients and vendors across the spectrum of diversity, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, color, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, socio-economic status, national origin and immigrant status, religious or spiritual identity, disability (physical, mental, emotional and developmental), veteran status, and/or limited English proficiency.
  • Willingness to contribute towards Fenway’s efforts in becoming an anti-racist organization and promoting a culture dedicated to ongoing development in service of humility, equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging, where differences are acknowledged and valued.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Direct experience with affordable housing search.
  • Experience advocating for clients with government assistance agencies, housing authorities, private landlords, or realtors.
  • Experience with de-escalation techniques
  • Strong orientation to Harm Reduction; experience working within the Harm Reduction framework
  • Knowledge of health-related issues faced by injection drug users, including awareness of injection drug user networks, norms and culture.
  • Experience working within a safe syringe exchange setting
  • Experience with the provision of HIV prevention services.
  • Bilingual in Spanish/English.
  • Experience using an electronic medical record or similar database to track client work.

We offer competitive salaries, and for those who qualify, an excellent benefits package; including comprehensive medical and dental insurance plans, and a retirement plan with employer match. We also provide 12 paid holidays, paid vacation, and more.

LGBTQIA+ identified persons, Black, Indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC), and individuals from other historically underrepresented communities are strongly encouraged to apply.

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How to Apply


Job Categories: LGBT. Job Types: Full-Time. Salaries: 40,000 - 60,000.

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