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

Results:  10
Matching School Ads

The University of Southern California Doctor of Social Work (DSW) online program is designed for experienced practitioners to harness innovative solutions to solve real-world problems.

Unlike a PhD in social work, which prepares scholars for careers in research and the professoriate, the DSW@USC is an online advanced practice degree program for working professionals who want to have a greater impact in their practice.

Selected Campus Locations:
  • Online

There is no more exciting time to be part of the renowned Tulane School of Social Work or of the intriguing city of New Orleans than at this moment. 

Selected Campus Locations:
  • Online
Selected Programs:
  • Masters in Social Work

The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work offers a CSWE-accredited online Master's in Social Work. The GRE is not required to apply to the MSW@USC program. Complete in as little as 1 year with a BSW.

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.

Selected Campus Locations:
  • Online
Selected Programs:
  • Master of Social Work

At Widener University, we proudly cultivate challenging and culturally diverse learning environments where academics, leadership, and service come first. Founded in 1821 in Chester, Pennsylvania, Widener is nationally recognized for our commitment to civic engagement, service, and social responsibility. It is our goal to develop true leaders who inspire positive change throughout our community.

Selected Campus Locations:
  • Online

Our Lady of the Lake University is a private, Catholic university with a deep connection to the history and community of San Antonio. Founded in 1895 by the Congregation of Divine Providence, we have developed a reputation for our personal teaching style. Since 2011, OLLU has been named to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. We are a university that helps students develop their full potential in an environment that's encouraging and stimulating.

Selected Campus Locations:
  • Online

Colorado State University-Global Campus

Colorado State University-Global Campus (CSU-Global) offers career relevant bachelor’s and master’s degree programs for working adults and nontraditional learners.

Selected Campus Locations:
  • Online

Discover the Difference a Community of Support Makes in Your Educational Journey. From Application to Graduation, the Support You Need to Achieve Your Goals. 100% Online.

Selected Campus Locations:
  • Online

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