Mental Health Specialist - Outreach & Engagement

  • St. Joseph Center
  • 204 Hampton Drive, Venice, CA, USA
  • Sep 08, 2020

Job Description

Job Summary

The Mental Health Specialist works as a team member with several social service professional and paraprofessional staff ensuring the delivery of quality care in accordance to the rules and regulations established for contracted agencies as well as adhering to the mission of St. Joseph Center.  The Mental Health Specialist will be responsible for providing clinical and case management support to new and existing clients of SJC. 

*This position requires CA BBS Registration as MSW or MFT.


Key Areas of Responsibility:

  • Provide ongoing case management services that will ensure successful permanent housing. This includes decreasing social isolation and preventing relapse risks. Also, advocacy to deter evictions and linkage to any needed services such as medical/dental, substance abuse, life skills training, self-help, money management, meaningful community activities, volunteer services, job placement, etc.
  • Implement case management service plan goals, emphasizing coordinated strategies for addressing mental health/substance abuse issues, relapse prevention, medication management and any other risk factors that could impede permanent housing and provide ongoing assessment of client progress in attaining goal plan
  • Develop close working relationships with your internal team, outreach workers, case managers, police and paramedics, the Los Angeles Housing Authority, and collaborative agencies

Essential Duties:

  • Provide mental health assessment and interventions to the severe and persistently mentally ill
  • Perform initial comprehensive bio psychosocial assessment; develop a plan of intervention that addresses identified need for housing, on-going case management services, substance abuse treatment, mental health services, and coordination of needed community services
  • Present findings to other collaborative agencies in order to develop a service plan of action that will expedite housing opportunities and housing stability.
  • Utilize a harm reduction model when working with clients with chemical dependency or abuse issues.
  • Ensure a smooth transition into permanent housing by assisting clients with life skills such as budgeting, cooking, accessing community resources, and other skills as needed.
  • Ability to work remotely and provide crisis management, case management, and other related substance abuse/mental health services to clients on the streets, in service venues, in housing placements, or other locations as appropriate.
  • Respond to urgent requests for assistance from external stakeholders or landlords as needed.
  • Provide transportation through volunteers or staff to accompany clients and children when necessary to medical and legal appointments and job interviews when they may experience unusual difficulties.
  • Accompany clients to court appearances and to the magistrates’ office when support and assistance is needed.
  • Conduct VI-SPDAT, (Vulnerability Index – Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool), on all new clients in order to connect them to proper intervention and services. Document results, complete match initiation form, and submit all paperwork to CES Coordinator.
  • Help client to obtain various forms of identification including birth certificates and social security cards. Provide employment assistance, housing referrals, and health related assistance.
  • Assist with applications for supportive and subsidized housing and prospect potential locations for affordable rental housing.
  • Build relationships with prospective landlords, and identify appropriate permanent housing options.
  • Collaborate with community substance abuse and mental health providers to ensure seamless referral Service.
  • Work with local law enforcement and interim service providers to ensure a smooth transition from street living to interim housing.
  • Provide ongoing information, referrals, linkages, and advocacy for all other identified needs. Creatively use and develop community resources to broker and link clients to services.
  • Provide a high quality customer service environment for all clients. Participate in staff meetings and training as assigned by supervisor
  • Document services according to DMH standards and complete all necessary paperwork in a timely manner.
  • Complete paperwork on each face to face and telephone contact with the client, or with any collateral contact, by close-of-business on the next working day.
  • Ensure all program data is accurate and entered into the appropriate program documentation system as contractually required. (HMIS, internal spreadsheet, CES, Exym, etc.)
  • Generate client data for reporting.
  • Complete follow-up and retention services, and provide back-up documentation in client file

Other duties and responsibilities may be assigned. The duties and responsibilities listed are designed to provide typical examples of the work performed; not all duties and responsibilities assigned are included here, nor is it expected that all similar positions will be assigned every duty and responsibility.


Knowledge, Skills & Abilities:

  • Must be highly motivated and a self-starter.  Must have the ability to communicate with and relate to a diverse group of people including clients, community, and other staff.  Must have excellent administrative and organizational skills
  • Demonstrated knowledge and experience with advanced and evidenced based intervention: Harm Reduction, Motivational Interviewing, Critical Time Intervention, and Housing First
  • A bilingual background is a plus
  • The position requires an ability to work flexible hours including some early mornings and evenings


  • Two years’ experience with providing mental health services


  • Master’s degree from an accredited college or university in social work, psychology, human services or a related field

Direct Reports:

  • This position has no direct supervisory responsibilities.

Computer Skills:

  • Proficiency in MS Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook) and widely supported internet browsers.

Certificates, Licenses and Registrations:

  • Required: CA BBS registered MSW, MFT
  • Valid California Class C Driver License or the ability to utilize an alternative method of transportation when needed to carry out job-related essential functions.
  • Valid automobile liability insurance.