Most mid-sized and large cities have at least one safe house for victims of domestic violence. Safe houses are also located in rural areas. Many positions are available at safe houses--volunteer coordinator, case manager, counselor and house manager. The house manager is second only to the director and is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the safe house.
Most house manager positions in safe houses require a minimum of a bachelor's degree in social work or a related field, such as sociology or psychology. Some jobs require a master's degree in social work (MSW). Candidates who hold a master's degree will be more competitive.
Safe house managers should have experience working with disadvantaged populations, crisis situations and managing other people. Most safe houses will require experience working with victims of domestic violence. Two years of experience is often the minimum requirement.
Safe house managers may or may not be required to provide case management services to safe house clients. However, the manager typically is responsible for ensuring that clients' needs and goals are met by connecting clients with services directly or supervising those who do.
The house manager also ensures that the safe house runs smoothly. The manager is responsible for seeing that the safe house is adequately stocked with food, medicine and cleaning supplies. The manager also creates schedules for cooking, cleaning, group therapy and recreational events.
The safe house manager must be familiar with community social services and use them to help clients become independent. Ideally, the manager will form liaisons with other agencies, developing strong working relationships.
In addition, safe house managers must know how to create documents, memos, spreadsheets and use database software. Many positions require managers to give training presentations to staff and educational presentations to the community. Because of this, the manager should know how to use presentation software and must present information clearly and effectively.
Safe house managers also should be prepared to pass a background check and sometimes take a TB (tuberculosis) test before employment.
Safe house managers should have excellent written and spoken English. It is also beneficial to be proficient in Spanish or another language widely used in the community. Safe house managers need to have superior communication skills, as they will be communicating with individuals in crisis, shelter staff and the community at large. Safe house managers also must have superior problem solving skills, as people's lives may depend on the decisions they make.
Safe house managers need to have a valid state driver's license, as they may need to drive clients to appointments, make emergency pickups at the hospital or go to court.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage in 2012 for counselors, social workers, and other community and social service specialists was $40,400 annually. This salary may vary according to region and city, county or nonprofits' budgets for safe house services.
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