Career Story: Housing Coordinator For A State Mental Health Authority

Housing Coordinator For A State Mental Health Authority

Job Title: Housing Coordinator

Type of Company: I work for a state mental health authority.

Education: BA, Sociology, Brandeis University •• MPP, George Washington University

Previous Experience: I worked for two years as a housing advocate (or a housing search worker) for a contractor for the Department of Mental Health before starting work on my graduate degree. While still in grad school, I interned for the US Interagency Council on Homelessness and the National Housing Trust.

Job Tasks: Much of my job involves passing information from one party to another, following up to make sure things get done, performing some analysis and research for my supervisors and providing technical assistance to a wide range of people. I write some documents which contribute to how programs will be run, or how contracts will be bid. It is very important to understand the differences between different types of housing, particularly how they are funded, and also how different systems (housing, mental health, social security, etc) interact with each other.

Most days I spend part of my time at my desk, writing emails and making calls. I also attend many meetings throughout the region we serve, dwelling mostly on issues that pertain to the homeless, new housing resources and work groups. In addition, I often tour our housing programs with our inspectors, checking for improvements or violations. I also spend a part of my day investigating new resources, based on notices I receive, or doing research on the internet. Some of this information I distribute to other parties who I think would benefit from it.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is having a lot of flexibility in my schedule, being able to pursue projects which I personally find interesting, and sometimes having the opportunity to improve the housing situations for some of the people my department serves.

The worst part of the job is often being assigned to aimless projects whose goals are unclear, or to projects of dubious value. I do not supervise staff or control any contracts, so it's hard for me to implement changes.

Job Tips: Be sure to get some direct service experience before you take an administrative position. Often, administrators do not understand the fine details of situations "on the ground" and their lack of understanding can make for bad policy. In addition, be passionate about "helping people" in the broadest sense of the phrase. This is not a position that yields immediate (or even notable) results. Change takes time. Patience, and not becoming too frustrated, are important. Also, strong communication skills are incredibly important. You will be interacting with many people in local and state government; private landlords; housing authorities; non-profit and for-profit housing developers; people in desperate situations; people with a lot more knowledge than you and others who know very little about housing. Confidence is important, but not over-confidence. This is a position where your ability to perform improves with time, where it takes at least 2 years to become "proficient."

Popular Schools offering Social Services Programs

quickinfoClick the Visit School Site buttons to go directly to a school's website and learn more about the school and programs it has to offer. School website will open in a new tab. .

Click the Request Info buttons to request more information from a representative at the school

Matching School Ads

100% Online & No Standardized Testing

  • Programs: Bachelor of Science: Social Work, MA Human Services: Military Resilience, MA Human Services: Christian Ministry, more...
  • Degrees: Bachelor, Master, Doctorate

Why Choose Widener University?

At Widener University, we proudly cultivate challenging and culturally diverse learning environments where academics, leadership, and service come first. Our curricula are connected to societal issues and challenge students to take social responsibility for their role in today's global society.

  • Programs: Masters of Social Work
  • Degrees: Master

100% online degrees from Ashford University

  • Programs: BA in Health and Human Services, BA in Health and Human Services - Health Care Informatics Systems Specialization, BA in Health and Human Services - Long-Term Care Specialization, more...
  • Degrees: Bachelor

Why earn your degree at Grand Canyon University? GCU is a regionally accredited university offering graduate and undergraduate degrees in Business, Nursing, Psychology, Education & more. Apply today!

  • Programs: M.S. in Professional Counseling with an Emphasis in Childhood and Adolescence Disorders, Graduate Certificate of Completion in Life Coaching, M.S. in Christian Counseling, more...
  • Degrees: Master, Certificate

The MSW@USC is the first top-ranked MSW program offered nationally. Many online programs are limited to certain geographic areas or the availability of courses, making it necessary to travel to campus. Our program can be completed from virtually anywhere without the need to relocate to Southern California.

  • Programs: Master of Social Work
  • Degrees: Master
Argosy University
Ontario, Orange, San Diego

Welcome to Argosy University

Argosy University offers doctoral, master's, and bachelor's degree programs to students through its eight colleges:  College of Behavioral Sciences, Graduate School of Business and Management, College of Education,  College of Health Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Creative Arts and Design, College of Clinical Psychology and Western State College of Law at Argosy University as well as certificate programs in many areas.

  • Programs: Human Services (MS), Counseling Psychology (EdD), Counseling Psychology (MA)
  • Degrees: Master, Doctorate

Recognized by the U.S. News and World Report for: Best Online Programs, Bachelor’s 2017, Best Online Programs, Grad Education 2017 and Best Online Programs, Bachelor’s for Veterans 2017

  • Programs: Sports Counseling (Certificate) - Online, Law and Public Policy Certificate, Conflict Resolution (Master of Arts) - Online
  • Degrees: Certificate, Master

Pursue your education at Ohio Christian University.

  • Programs: Bachelor of Arts in Human Services
  • Degrees: Bachelor
Matching School Ads

Additional Career Stories for Community And Social Service Specialists

The inside stories from people actually working in the field.
Click a story title to show the story, and click the title again to hide it.

All Types

You are visiting:

What are Career Stories?

Career Stories are concise, real-world career overviews written by people relating their personal career experiences and wisdom. They provide invaluable insights and mentoring advice to students and career changers.

Most stories include:

  • a typical day or project
  • tips and advice
  • best and worst parts
  • educational background
  • previous experience

Browse hundreds of Career Stories

More Details On This Career

Please also see our detailed information about Community And Social Service Specialists, including:

Back to Top