Youth Advocate

66 · Edina, Minnesota
Department 66
Employment Type Full-Time
Minimum Experience Mid-level
Compensation $37,500 to $40,000

Why Work For Simpson?

Our Mission is to house, support and advocate for people experiencing homelessness. We believe that everybody has the right to safe and affordable housing; we strive to strive to create a collaborative community with the individuals we serve, within Simpson, and with the greater community; and we advocate against the injustices of society that cause homelessness and poverty. On a daily basis, we celebrate and embrace the uniqueness and dignity of every person and encourage people to draw upon their strengths and promote the power of self-advocacy.

Simpson Housing Services began as an emergency overnight shelter in the basement of Simpson United Methodist Church in 1982. Simpson has since become a leading nonprofit providing assistance to people experiencing homelessness. In response to un-met community needs, our programs have grown to include emergency shelter, single adult supportive housing, and family supportive housing. We work across the metro area, partnering with landlords and developers to find affordable housing for all families and individuals. At any given time, we provide supportive services to 100 individuals and 200 families with over 400 children.

 

COMMITMENT TO DIVERSITY & RACIAL JUSTICE

Simpson Housing Services is an Equal Opportunity employer committed to the principles of diversity. Diversity continues to be our primary focus in staffing and hiring, as it is important to us that our staff demographics be representative of the population demographics whom we serve. As an affirmative action employer, we actively seek and encourage applications from women, minorities, persons with disabilities, and individuals with protected veteran status.

 

How Can You Contribute?

The Youth Advocate will provide case management services to youth experiencing homelessness. This position works with youth to improve the quality of individual lives through safe stable housing, employment, community connections, leadership, education and wellness. Through building trusting relationships and focusing on youth’s unique strengths, the Youth Advocate guides youth towards independence.

The Youth Advocate is part of the Youth Housing team at Simpson Housing Services. The goal of the team is to provide effective support services to homeless youth in transition. This position handles an intensive caseload of approximately 10-15 youth.  They will be located in non-time-limited housing at 66 West in Edina. The position hours will be primarily during M-F business hours, but will require some evening and Saturday hours. Participant populations may include those with chemical abuse issues, criminal histories (drug charges, prostitution, fraud, etc.), and/or other disabilities.

Non-Time-Limited Housing Program goals

Youth will develop self-advocacy skills that will allow them to reach goals of:

  • locating and retaining stable, affordable housing
  • increased economic resources
  • increased wellness
  • increased community connections

 

Responsibilities

Provide effective case management to program participants:

  • Complete intake and partner with property management to facilitate move in.
  • Orient participants to service polices/procedures.   
  • Meet with youth in their home at least weekly for the first 90 days and then as needed to support youth to achieve their goals.
  • Build trusting relationships with participants and create an environment that fosters independent living and community building.
  • Assess participant needs and assist participants in developing goals focused on improving stability and self-sufficiency; monitor progress and ensure follow-through.
  • Support and advocate for youth by connecting them with appropriate community resources.
  • Provide transportation and accompany residents to appointments related to their goals.
  • Follow SHS guidelines regarding participants’ program agreements with SHS. This can include setting up youth support meetings when necessary.

Assist participants to increase wellbeing:

  • Support and refer youth who are struggling with mental health concerns that are impacting their housing.
  • Support youth to identify ways to improve their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing, and provide on-going support and guidance.
  • Initiate and participate in collaborative meetings with individuals from other community support programs who are providing services to youth.
  • Be mindful of youth’s family situation, incorporating follow up from foster care or repairing family relationships as desired.

Assist participants with housing stability:

  • Collaborate with property management to ensure thorough communication and documentation.
  • Provide tenancy education to participant youth regarding housekeeping, care of property, and expectations of their leases.
  • Support youth to navigate conflict and crisis in their housing to ensure housing stability.
  • Assist participants to address barriers to housing: such as a lack of proper ID, evictions on record, etc.
  • Assist participants with the location of permanent housing, including housing search and moves as needed.
  • Support youth to make their house a home with household items.

Assist program participants to increase financial stability:

  • Work with participants to prioritize spending to ensure rent is paid monthly.
  • Assist participants to access and maintain needed government benefits such as health care, food stamps and GA.
  • Assist participants to connect with education, training, and/or employment.
  • Assist participants to develop and achieve financial goals (examples: creating spending plans and budgets, accessing free credit scores and paying off debt).

Work as part of an effective team to meet goals of program:

  • Communicate and coordinate services with all team members. Attend weekly team meetings, other required meetings.
  • Communicate effectively with property management regarding tenant behaviors, tenancy concerns, and property issues.
  • Sort and distribute in-kind donations.
  • Answer inquiries into SHS through answering the phone or greeting people at the door.
  • Employee may provide back up for advocates during periods of absence or during times of increased workloads.

Provide community leadership around Education:

  • Seek out, build and maintain relevant community relationships to provide opportunities for youth.
  • Host community events and activities to provide opportunities for all participants to engage in education.
  • Seek out innovative ways to keep education relevant for youth.
  • Demonstrate leadership around education through knowledge and initiative.

Complete accurate and thorough documentation and record-keeping in a timely manner:

  • Maintain individual files, including case notes, signed data privacy, intake and discharge summaries, and Release of Information.
  • Compile statistical reports for funding sources and program management including entry into data systems.
  • Maintain accurate records including employee time sheets and travel expenses.
  • Participate with funding reports, grant writing and site visits.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Provide positive representation of SHS through public relations and networking:

  • Interpret and promote the program to constituents, speak to community organizations and other stakeholder groups.
  • Develop and maintain positive working relationships with staff, volunteers, participants and other stakeholders.
  • Network with providers of similar services.
  • Participate in professional meetings, workshops, and staff meetings.

Demonstrate essential knowledge, abilities, and skills:

  • Ability and willingness to learn and incorporate agency philosophy into service delivery.
  • Ability to work very well independently, with excellent skills in teamwork and collaboration.
  • Ability to be flexible and manage time effectively.
  • Knowledge of Harm Reduction/Housing First Model and commitment to that model.
  • Ability to communicate effectively, positively and professionally with participants, providers, family members and others.
  • Ability to work with individuals from very diverse backgrounds.
  • Ability to perform non-traditional tasks while meeting participant needs.
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality.
  • Adhere to a standard framework of boundaries in all interactions with guests, volunteers, staff and public.

 

Scope of Position

Job Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in human service or equivalent experience in field is required.
  • Driver’s License and car required.

Desired:

  • Minimum of 1-year experience in providing direct social services to young adults desired.
  • Knowledge of human and adolescent development desired.
  • Training in working with low-income youth, young adults, diverse populations, and those who are homeless desired.
  • Knowledge of positive youth development, mental health, chemical dependency, trauma, physical or sexual abuse is desired.

Essential Mental Functions

  • The employee, in collaboration with the participant, must determine the needs of the participants and how best to meet these needs. This means, the employee will assess a participant’s situation to be able to identify more fully the needs of the participants.
  • The employee must draw on the ability to empathize, problem solve, and the ability to accept people unconditionally with an openness to new ideas.
  • To interpret policies and guidelines, employee must draw on analytical abilities.
  • The employee must understand and apply knowledge of homelessness, social support systems, tenant law, advocacy, young adult stages of development and case management in terms of providing services to youth in crisis.
  • Home visitation requires the employee to be aware of personal safety.

Essential Physical Functions

Employee must be able to hear and speak in order to communicate with staff and participants in person, on the telephone and in writing. Employee must be able to move about the community and public places (such as apartment buildings).

 

Percentage time spent away from main office/location: 
Time inside: 70%, Time outside: 30%, Agency travel time required: 30%
Travel includes travel within the community including but not limited to local schools, attending community meetings, accompanying participants to appointments.

Percentage time spent in direct care (Working directly with participants/individuals we support):  80%

Type of guidance and supervision received (Level of guidance/supervision): Will participate in weekly team meetings as well as bi-weekly direct supervision meetings.

Number of Direct Reports: None

Number of In-direct Reports: May provide intern/volunteer supervision

Budget Responsibility: None

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  • Location
    Edina, Minnesota
  • Department
    66
  • Employment Type
    Full-Time
  • Minimum Experience
    Mid-level
  • Compensation
    $37,500 to $40,000