Housing specialists assist individuals and families with finding affordable housing. Clients they typically serve include the disabled, homeless, senior citizens, veterans and low to moderate income persons. These housing professionals work with community organizations, government agencies and property owners to secure living arrangements, negotiate rents, deposits and move-in terms on behalf of their clients. The job involves various tasks that increase housing options for people who are trying to transition from temporary housing arrangements such as shelters or adult residential facilities.
Duties and Responsibilities
Housing specialists conduct an eligibility assessment for each client and then identify any available housing. They familiarize clients with their rights and responsibilities as tenants, and teach them how to resolve issues with their landlords. They increase their inventory of available housing by reaching out to property owners and local resources. They assist clients with limited financial means to secure decent housing. Maintaining records required by government and other funding programs is another key responsibility.
Skills and Knowledge
Different government agencies and private groups help housing specialists assist their clients. Each organization has rules and stipulations. Specialists must know the rules thoroughly, including any federal, state and local laws. This often means interpreting complex legal jargon, so they can explain the rules to their clients. They also must negotiate and broker the best deal for their clients while staying withing the limits of the law and any program restrictions. Strong communication, analytical and negotiation skills are needed to accomplish these job objectives.
Employment and Work Environment
Federal, state or local housing authorities provide some employment opportunities for housing specialists, and these professionals also may find work with gonprofit and private organizations focused on housing assistance. For example, a women’s shelter may hire a housing specialist to assist women to find permanent, affordable housing. A specialist's duties often requires spending time in the community, and visiting property owners and housing contacts. This means a portion of a typical workday will be spent away from the office. Most employers require housing specialists to drive, so a valid driver's license often is a must, and you may be required to own a car.
Education and Wages
Some employers require a minimum of a high school diploma and one or more years of relevant work experience, such as in social services or public administration. Other employers prefer an associate degree or higher. A combination of education and experience is acceptable if the housing specialist can demonstrate the required job skills. The average annual salary for housing specialists ranges from $37,000 in private or nonprofit organizations to $66,878 in a government agency, according to Glassdoor.com. Specific salaries vary according to job location, employer and experience.
- Eduers.com: Housing Program Specialist
- Department of Veterans Affairs VHA Handbook: Housing and Urban Development (HUD) VASH Program
- City of Carlsbad Class Specification: Housing Specialist I and Housing Specialist II
- County of San Diego Job Descriptions & Salaries: Housing Specialist II
- Glassdoor.com: Housing Specialist Salary
- Photo Credit David Sacks/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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