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Substance Use Advocate – (Chicago, IL)

The Night Ministry

Job Title:   Substance Use Advocate (Full time)

FLSA Status: Non-Exempt

Department:   Outreach and Health Ministry (OHM)  

Reports to:  Lead Case Manager

Position Summary:  Provides care and support for people seeking substance use education and/or recovery that are receiving services through the Street Medicine Program and Health Outreach Bus.  Collaborate to locate, create and maintain relationships with the homeless through outreach. This includes participation in van-based outreach, on foot outreach in selected areas, staffing of daytime or evening programming, where the homeless are likely to congregate.

General Purpose: Delivers services and support in accordance with The Night Ministry’s vision and purpose.

Role Qualifications:

  • Comfort with developing and implementing new venues and methods of outreach.
  • Street smarts; able to work comfortably in all Chicago neighborhoods
  • Evidence of excellent interpersonal skills
  • Must be trauma competent, LGBTQQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual) competent, and street culture competent, and able to work with diverse populations.
  • Be knowledgeable about Harm Reduction, Trauma-Informed Care and Housing First Approach

Position Responsibilities:

  • Conduct client assessments to help support clients with internal and external resources
  • Support clients who use substances by being knowledgeable about substances and their effects, treatment options, encouraging practices that increase safety and reduce harm; and by providing referrals and support into treatment
  • Work with the interdisciplinary team (medical provider, case manager(s)) to provide resources and support to access resources in all other areas, including medical care and housing.
  • Maintain and be knowledgeable of relationships with partners to offer and support clients as they access Medication Assisted Treatment
  • Accurate and timely data entry in external and internal databases, i.e. Electronic Health Records (EHR) and Efforts to Outcomes (ETO)
  • Drive the Outreach Van as needed; be knowledgeable about the encampment locations to be visited
  • Be available as a listening ear and resource to people the Street Medicine and Health Outreach Bus Program visits; establish relationships and build rapport in a non-judgmental way; employ motivational interviewing and harm reduction methods to engage visitors in services available; offer referrals for social services
  • Organize and provide Harm Reduction kits which include working with Chicago Recovery Alliance for supplies and packing syringe kits and recording syringe data.
  • Provide recovery counseling to clients when requested
  • Give volunteers opportunities to participate, as well as the opportunity to serve whenever possible
  • In close cooperation with The Night Ministry’s health services staff, be available to provide counseling and HIV/STI testing at various sites as needed
  • Offer referrals to appropriate health and human services agencies
  • Carry out periodic community needs assessments
  • Complete, maintain and submit required documents accurately and on schedule.
  • Keep up-to-date with the issues related to the target population, including current literature, available resources, and street dynamics
  • Attend staff, agency and inter-agency meetings as able
  • Participate in training opportunities as required or as able
  • Occasionally represent The Night Ministry to the community and congregational groups, participating in The Night Ministry’s public relations and fund-raising activities as required or as able
  • Special projects and duties as assigned

Essentials skills and experience:

  • Certified Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor (CADC)
  • Minimum of 1-2 years’ experience conducting outreach to people experiencing homelessness
  • Valid driver’s license, evidence of insurability, able and willing to drive the Outreach Van
  • Physically able to be outdoors and/or mobile outdoors for as long as six consecutive hours in all varieties of Chicago weather

Nonessential skills and experience:

  • Spanish language
  • Previous lived experience to be a peer advocate
  • BA degree from an accredited college or university

Reporting to this position: no direct reports

Physical Demands and Work Environment: The physical demands and work environment characteristics described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of the job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Physical Demands: While performing the duties of this job, the employee is occasionally required to stand; walk; sit; use hands to finger, handle or feel objects, tools or controls; climb stairs; crouch, or crawl; talk or hear; taste or smell. The employee must occasionally lift and/or move 50 pounds and drive an automobile and the outreach bus. Specific vision abilities required by the job include close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and the ability to adjust focus.
  • Work environment: While performing the duties of this job, the employee is exposed to weather conditions prevalent at the time. The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate but may vary at the different locations required in this job. The employee will be exposed to all varieties of Chicago weather and will be expected to work mainly evening hours.

Women, people of color, LGBTQ, and/or those with lived experience of homelessness and/or addiction are encouraged to apply.

Compensation: position offers hourly salary and is eligible for benefits.

View full job description and apply.

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