Family Advocate: Supportive Housing

88 · Minneapolis, Minnesota
Department 88
Employment Type Full-time - BE
Minimum Experience Mid-level
Compensation $38,000 to $42,000

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.


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?

This person must be able to provide support to participants by being able to connect professionally and personally through one on one in person meetings, telephone conversations, zoom or teams apps virtual meetings to people who have been traumatized by multiple episodes of homelessness. This population of people are very resilient and very capable of successful outcomes. This candidate must also understand the realities of systemic racism. institutionalized oppression, poverty, long term homelessness, mental illness, physical disabilities, drug addiction, sexual and or physical spousal abuse and fractured family syndrome. This position utilizes a Person-Centered Approach to partner with families to enhance the quality of individual and family life. This position is part of the Supportive Housing team at Simpson Housing Services. The goals of the program are to provide stable housing and quality support services to long-term homeless families with documented disabilities.  We do this by partnering with families to locate and retain stable, safe affordable housing and increase their economic resources and future earning potential.

This person should expect to learn and educate through the collaboration of supporting participating  families. The Family Support Specialist must always be aware of the anti-racist approach that Simpson Housing Services has adopted.

This position will be remote during the pandemic but the office is available if necessary.  Once it’s safe, in-office attendance will be required for team meetings and other programming. Further, while temporarily remote, in person attendance at SHS office will be required for this position.  SHS follows established protocols to ensure a clean and safe working environment including mask wearing, social distancing and frequent sanitizing at its locations. SHS will provide necessary tech, including a laptop for remote work and google voice access and any other equipment that may be required to perform the duties of this position.

Hours for this position are flexible, and based on family support needs. Generally, you must be available for team meetings and other programming Mondays to Fridays, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm. Occasional evenings and weekends.


Provide effective supportive services to program participants:

  • Complete intakes and assist with housing placement of new participants
  • Orientate participants to Simpson Housing Service policies/procedures
  • Meet weekly typically for at least 60 minutes with families during home visits to strengthen family functioning. During the pandemic, video visits may substitute for in-home visits.
  • Partner with participants to develop self-defined goals focused on improving stability and achieving greater independence.
  • Partner with participants to connect with appropriate community resources to achieve defined goals.
  • Provide transportation assistance and accompany to appointments related to their goals
  • Follow SHS guidelines regarding participants’ program agreements with SHS.

Partner with participants to increase family stability:

  • Support and explore community resources with participants when they are struggling with mental health concerns and healthy family functioning and provide referral information when necessary.
  • Support and encourage growth and independence using a Person-Centered Approach.
  • Support school age children and monitor attendance, academic achievement and encourage parent involvement, and collaborate with participants to make community connections.
  • Connect families with Simpson Early Childhood Specialist and Children and Youth Services to support children in the household.
  • Partner with participants to obtain furniture and other necessary household items.

Partner with participants for housing stability:

  • Partner with participants to address barriers to housing: such as a lack of proper ID for self or children, address any evictions and/or criminal history, address any money (debt) owed to a prior landlord or property management company.
  • Build relationships with landlords to facilitate communication with participants regarding finding and securing housing, ongoing tenancy concerns, and appropriate daily living expectations.
  • Partner with families to complete tenancy education and to read and fully understand their lease .
  • Partner with families to address any housekeeping concerns.
  • Partner with participants to prepare for independent housing (exit) without Simpson Housing Services
  • Provide crisis intervention services to participant and family if necessary.

Partner with program participants to increase financial stability:

  • Partner with participants to access and maintain government benefits such as Housing Support, MFIP, SSI, health coverage, and child care.
  • Partner with participants to connect with education, training, and/or employment
  • Explore, educate and explain the banking system, savings programs, debt management, credit counseling, and financial planning tools to achieve a more aware and improved financial life.
  • Partner with participants to improve financial health by developing realistic budgets, spending plans and promote SHS savings program.

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

  • Demonstrate the ability to work within a team setting, with an emphasis on leadership, self-initiative, patience, creativity, maturity and discernment.
  • Communicate and coordinate services with all team members. Attend regular team meetings, other required agency meetings and become a part of the team as well as the agency.
  • Coordinate with Landlord Engagement Specialist for t housing availability opportunities and tenancy related consultation.
  • Collaborate with SHS Early Childhood Specialist and Children and Youth Services to support children within the family.
  • Sort and distribute in-kind donations
  • Answer inquiries into SHS, Site Based project, if applicable, through answering the phone or greeting people at the door.

Complete accurate and thorough documentation and recordkeeping in a timely manner:

  • Maintain individual electronic Client Track files, including timely detailed case notes of each interaction and participant meetings.
  • Compile statistical reports for funding sources and program management when asked to do so.
  • Maintain accurate records including time sheets, credit card statements, client expenses and mileage reimbursement.
  • Support Compliance department in gathering of information to complete reports.
  • Other duties as assigned

Provide positive representation of SHS through public relations and networking:

  • Meet with and promote Simpson Housing Services to community-based supporters, allied organizations, and foundations who have an interest in the families that we serve.
  • Develop and maintain positive working relationships with co-workers, volunteers, participants and other invested interested parties.
  • Network with allies and providers of similar services
  • Participate in professional development, workshops, retreats, trainings and staff meetings.

Demonstrate essential knowledge, abilities and skills:

  • Ability to be efficient while working independently, possess excellent communication skills within the total scope of the position description.
  • Ability to be flexible, create your own schedule, demonstrate the ability to meet regularly with participants and manage time efficiently
  • Knowledge of Harm Reduction/Housing First Model and commitment to that model
  • Ability to communicate respectfully, positively and professionally with coworkers, participants, providers, family members and others who are diverse with respect to race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, and religion.
  • 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 participants, volunteers, coworkers and the general public.
  • Possess solid computer skills, with experience in Microsoft Office.
  • Demonstrate ability to learn and use computer database for client records while being able to learn new updated technical advances.

Commitment to racial equity and social justice:

  • Commitment to working in an anti-racist culture within Simpson Housing Services and having the ability to identify racism.
  • Work within and across agency departments to build culture of equity and antiracism.
  • Evolve knowledge and strategy of equity and antiracism on an individual and team level.
  • Participate in meetings, trainings, and workshops hosted by SHS about diversity, equity, inclusion, antiracism, and other related topics.

Scope of Position

This position handles an intensive caseload of approximately 14 to 17 participant families.  Families will be located in a mixture of site-based and scattered site housing throughout Anoka and Hennepin County. This position works with families who are referred through Hennepin and Anoka County Coordinated Entry. Participant populations may include those with physical, emotional, chemical abuse concerns, criminal background histories, parenting difficulties, generational poverty, long term homelessness and histories of under education. The program does not have a time limit however participants and Family Support Specialist are expected to work closely together to prepare participant family for life after Simpson Housing Services. This includes an emphasis on partnering on goals that will better prepare families for self-sufficiency and safe affordable housing.

Employee may provide backup coverage for other Family Support Specialists or during periods of absence or during times of increased workloads.

Required Qualifications

Employee must share in Simpson Housing Services Values:

  • We believe that everybody has the right to safe and affordable housing.
  • We celebrate and embrace the uniqueness and dignity of every person.
  • We encourage people to draw upon their strengths and promote the power of self-sufficiency.
  • We speak out and address the injustices of society that causes racism, homelessness and poverty.
  • We strive to create a safe, supportive nurturing community with the families we serve, within the agency of Simpson Housing Services, and with the greater community.

Our Commitment to Advancing Racial Equity

We hold steadfast to our values, embracing the uniqueness and dignity of each person and speaking out against the injustices of society. Together, we are committed to working toward racial equity and ending homelessness.

Position Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree in Human Services or equivalent life experiences
  • Driver’s License and access to a safe, reliable and insured vehicle
  • Ability to meet documentation expectations
  • Must share in Simpson’s values and program philosophy concerning our Anti-Racist Stance


  • Minimum of 1-year experience in providing direct social services.
  • Experience working, volunteering or interning with low-income families of diverse populations, and people experiencing homelessness.
  • Knowledge of self and the ability to share your life’s experiences with others
  • Knowledge of mental health, chemical dependency, physical or sexual abuse, emotional abuse, economic abuse, Racism, Poverty, Homelessness,

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 ask the participant how they can be supported and then with the partnership of the participant develop and carry out a plan to address the discussed need.

The employee must draw on the ability to empathize, problem solve, and the ability to accept people unconditionally with an openness to new ideas, meet the participant exactly where they are at in life, do not judge or belittle but provide an effective level of support and encouragement, drawing upon your own life’s experiences.

To interpret policies and guidelines, employee must draw on analytical abilities.

The employee must understand and apply knowledge of homelessness, social support systems, identify racism, understand tenant law and support participants to set and reach tangible goals. In home visitation requires the employee to be aware of personal safety before entering the unit, while conducting the home visit and upon departure.

Essential Physical Functions

Employee must be able to hear and speak, in order to communicate with coworkers 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).  Employee must be able to lift 25 pounds on an occasional basis.

Percentage time spent away from office location:

Time inside:  60%, Time outside: 40%, Agency travel time required: 20%

Travel includes travel within the community including but not limited to participant homes, attending community meetings, and accompanying participants to appointments.

Percentage time spent in direct care (Working directly with participants):  At least 15 hours of Direct Support per 40 hours work week

Type of guidance and supervision received: Will participate in weekly team meetings as well as weekly direct supervision meetings.

Number of Direct Reports: None

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

Budget Responsibility: None

Thank You

Your application was submitted successfully.

  • Location
    Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Department
  • Employment Type
    Full-time - BE
  • Minimum Experience
  • Compensation
    $38,000 to $42,000