SOAR Outreach Benefits Specialist

The SOAR Outreach Benefits Specialist is a member of the Coordinated Entry and Housing Placement (CAHP) Outreach Team, which is part of a larger homeless outreach program at Pathways to Housing DC. The homeless outreach program is comprised of public and private partnerships to operate various street outreach teams throughout the city whose goals are to engage, support, and combat homelessness for individuals living in DC. Our outreach staff works to build trust with those experiencing homelessness first by helping to meet basic needs (including food, clothing, showers, laundry, transportation, identification, etc.). Then, they partner with each individual to access housing, employment, benefits, medical care, mental health care, substance abuse treatment, and other services.

SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) is a model that helps individuals experiencing or at-risk for homelessness who have mental illness and/or a co-occurring substance use disorder or other medical impairments apply for Social Security disability benefits. The outreach program uses this model to assist people with disabilities who would have difficulty applying independently for SSI/SSDI benefits.

The SOAR Outreach Benefits Specialist provides direct outreach services in a team environment to people experiencing homelessness and represents Pathways to community stakeholders. Approximately 75% of time will be spent in the community, directly providing services to persons living on the streets in DC. While much of the work is independent and self-directed, there is also a strong team dynamic. Shift schedules include hours between 7am-7pm, Monday through Friday. Successful candidates are committed to ending homelessness and have a fundamental belief that hope and recovery are always possible.

RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Conduct outreach to engage individuals in need of services and identify potential SOAR candidates;

  • Work with a core group of individuals consistently over time in order to create a plan to meet their needs, particularly with those who may not independently seek services;

  • Over the course of a year, provide direct assistance to approximately 36 individuals who are applying for disability benefits, using all of the SOAR components;

  • Complete interviews with consumers to gather information to complete SSI/SSDI applications;

  • Coordinate visits to medical doctors, psychiatrists, and other specialists to obtain evidence for application;

  • Provide case management assistance, particularly around benefits and insurance, and coordinate complex needs of multiple individuals within a larger continuum of care;

  • Identify other community resources and provide in-depth referrals to housing and medical and mental health services;

  • Support colleagues on strategies for applying for benefits;

  • Maintain records in Electronic Medical Record, including progress notes, incident reports, referrals, and psychosocial assessments in timely manner;

  • Represent Pathways and the Homeless Outreach Program at trainings, community meetings, and other venues as needed;

  • Attend any trainings/certifications as required;

  • Perform related work as assigned;

 

QUALIFICATIONS:

  • This position requires a minimum of a 4 year degree in human services or related field;

  • At least 2 years of experience working directly with individuals experiencing homelessness who have mental illness and/or are dually diagnosed;

  • Superior interpersonal, oral communication, writing, and computer skills;

  • Superior organizational skills and attention to detail; ability to prioritize multiple tasks and meet frequent deadlines;

  • Ability to build rapport with a diverse population, developing trust and conducting interviews in non-traditional settings and unstructured environments;

  • Ability to cultivate partnerships and positive relationships with other providers and community stakeholders;

  • Knowledge of mental health and substance abuse clinical skills preferred;

  • Familiarity with federal / state public benefits programs and SOAR a plus;

  • Knowledge of DC social service resources a plus;

  • Driver’s License required.

How to Apply: 

To apply, send an email with cover letter and resume to hr@pathwaysdc.org. Please indicate the position in your email's subject line.