Sample Job Description for Community Leader for Ending Homelessness


Other | March 18, 2014

Files: Sample Job Description for Director, Office of Supportive Housing, City of Philadelphia (DOCX | 18 KB | 3 pages)

Communities that are successful at ending homelessness often have a clearly identified leader for ending homelessness. This person acts as a champion, promoter, and coordinator of the various programs and key stakeholders. Ideally this person would report directly to the Mayor and have authority to make decisions and implement changes. Below is one example of a job description for this position from the Office of Supportive Housing (OSH) for the City of Philadelphia. This document can also be downloaded by clicking the link above.


Director, Office of Supportive Housing, City of Philadelphia             

The Director provides leadership to the Office of Supportive Housing (OSH) for the City of Philadelphia, ensuring its efficient and effective operation.  This position requires strong management skills and the ability to tackle complex situations and multiple responsibilities.

The mission of OSH is to plan and coordinate Philadelphia’s response to homelessness and the administration of Riverview Home; a state licensed Personal Care Home that provides housing to low income elderly and disabled persons. OSH’s goal is to assist individuals and families experiencing homelessness to achieve greater self-sufficiency and long-term housing. A critical component of the work is responsibility for the City’s Continuum of Care program, including preparation and submission of the City’s annual application for funding.  Additionally, the position collaborates and supports the City’s homeless partnership with the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA).

The OSH annual budget averages $91 million and includes an allocation of $42 million in City General Funds and $49 million in a combination of federal and state grant funds (54%).   OSH has 167 staff positions, 157 are City General Fund positions, of which 55 are Riverview Home staff and 102 are non-Riverview staff, as well as, 10 state and federal grant-funded positions. OSH has 14 upper level managers. 

This position involves assessing system capacity and community needs and developing resources to fill gaps, assessing program performance, analyzing and managing the Office’s budget, providing direction to provider agencies and assessing provider performance.  

The Director is expected to assess trends in homelessness to inform program development and resource expenditure.  The Director will utilize creativity to develop programs and resources to further the goal of ending homelessness in the City of Philadelphia. The Director will direct staff in the identification of new funding opportunities and the determination of which the agency should pursue

The Director must develop and manage relationships with developers, funders, advocacy organizations, providers, other government agencies, and mainstream resource providers to accomplish the Office’s goals and minimize costs to the City’s homeless system.  Key to this work are the relationships with the Office of Housing and Community Development, the Philadelphia Housing Authority, and the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual DisAbility Services.  Additionally, this position must manage political, corporate, private sector, and community relationships.

Advising the Mayor and senior City administrators on policies around homelessness and creation of solutions is a key part of the position. 

This individual will 

  • Establish department priorities and communicate vision and goals to internal and external stakeholders
  • Direct and coordinate the development, implementation and evaluation of long range and short term strategic plans, goals and objectives for the Office of Supportive Housing
  • Provide management, through subordinate supervisors, and oversight for the internal operations of the Office including policy and planning, budgeting, contracting, monitoring and compliance, human resources, intake and assessment, emergency housing operations, program development and performance measures
  • Use a comprehensive approach to develop, operate, and improve the continuum of homelessness solutions
  • Partner with other agencies and organizations to analyze and articulate emerging issues affecting those who are homeless in Philadelphia
  • Advise administration officials on policy related to homelessness, services and affordable housing
  • Act as administration’s point person on issues related to homelessness, including working with City Council and state and federal legislators, responding to media requests, working with and presenting to community groups
  • Promote access to and effective utilization of mainstream programs by individuals who are homeless
  • Direct the development of the City’s Continuum of Care funding application and allocations
  • Manage some of the City’s housing resources including allocations from the Philadelphia Housing Authority
  • Develop,  implement and monitor policy directives
  • Work effectively with other City departments, City administration, state and federal  governments
  • Work effectively with private provider agencies and stakeholders in managing the public system for homeless individuals and families 
  • Ensure that OSH provides high quality services
  • Supervise the Office’s emergency shelter services program, transitional housing program, Housing Clearinghouse, and the Riverview Home
  • Ensure that all programs and services are provided in a culturally competent, trauma-informed manner
  • Oversight and management, through subordinate supervisors, of property/site lease negotiations with landlords, developers and community groups for homeless housing facilities
  • Oversight and management of homeless housing political and community issues related to NIMBY.

Education required:  Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree preferred.

Experience required: 

The successful candidate will have a minimum of seven years' of increasingly responsible management/professional experience in housing and related services for those with special needs.  Candidates should have knowledge of federal affordable and special needs housing program funding and requirements.  Specifically, the successful candidate must possess experience with federal homeless continuum of care housing programs and requirements.

Skills and specific experience desired:

o   Background in affordable housing development and rental assistance

o   Experience with homeless service systems including emergency shelter

o   Knowledge of federal affordable and homeless housing programs & regulations:

·         Continuum of Care/HEARTH

·         Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)

·         HOME Investment Partnership (HOME)

·         Public Housing Choice Voucher Programs

o   Knowledge of funding mechanisms for above

o   Knowledge of best practices in field

o   Strong organizational & senior management skills

o   Strong oral and written communication & interpersonal skills

o   Ability to manage governmental/private sector relationships

o   Ability to work with legislators

o   Ability to represent City at a national level

o   Ability to negotiate contracts

o    Creativity and flexibility in management and programmatic design

o    Experience working in a public sector and unionized environment.