Does Your Shelter Have A Housing Specialist?

HMLS New Yorker

According to more than one source I’ve spoken with, every New York City housing shelter is supposed to have at least one housing specialist.

According to my sources, the housing specialist’s sole duty is supposed to be to help find shelter residents housing. I’ve been told that the housing specialist should not double as a case worker, or any other type of administrator. Unfortunately, in my 400+ days of being a resident in the NYC homeless shelter system, I have yet to encounter a person who fulfills this role in the aforementioned manner. I have also yet to receive any tangible housing help.

I wonder why none of the shelters I’ve been in have had a staff member whose sole duty it is to aggressively search for housing for shelter residents. If the City wants to attempt to eradicate the abysmal homeless situation, it would stand to reason that filling this position would be a priority for shelter administrators.

The following questions must be answered:

• Is it part of the contract of homeless shelter providers to have a housing specialist on duty? (After all, these contracts are worth millions. Surely, providers can eke out a slot in their budgets to make sure residents have proper help finding housing.)
• If each shelter is supposed to have a housing specialist whose sole duty is to help residents find housing, whose responsibility is it to check and make sure this is so?
• Finally, are shelter contract receivers pocketing money that should be allocated to make sure residents get the services they need by giving one person several titles? (Note: This usually results in the person fulfilling none of the jobs efficiently, if at all.)

The aforementioned questions need to be investigated, and answered. I’ve asked this before, and I’ll ask it again: Where is the transparency? Where is the efficiency?

-The Homeless New Yorker

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The Face You Make When Your Housing Specialist Says She Doesn’t Know What Square Footage Is

obama-confused-look
Who trains these people? What exactly are the requirements for earning the title of “housing specialist”?

My shelter’s “housing specialist” was talking to me about renting a studio. I asked her what the square footage was. (NOTE: I’ve seen some pretty tiny studios for exorbitant prices.) Her response was she didn’t know what square footage was. SMH!! This is the same person who repeatedly bragged about buying a house during meetings when she should have been providing my family with housing help. How do you not know?! Again, SMH!!

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