LA Family Housing

Substance Abuse Specialist

Employment type
Full Time
21 days ago
Los Angeles

LA Family Housing is looking to fill a position for an Substance Abuse Specialist. The Substance Abuse Specialist is responsible for providing field-based substance use disorder assessments, service referrals, and follow-up referral/service tracking to homeless single adults living on the streets of Service Planning Area (SPA) 2. Duties include: work within the Street-based Engagement Team (SBET) to assess and provide needed substance use treatment referrals, crisis intervention, maintain thorough and accurate records in both written form and through the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), provide follow-up services as needed, and collaborate closely with various community agencies and programs that provide inpatient and outpatient substance use treatment to better assist in expedited service linkage.




  • Provide mobile, field-based, outreach to homeless single adults living on the streets of SPA 2.
  • Motivate homeless individuals to engage in outreach services and associated community referrals that promote well-being by building rapport & providing emotional support to participants.
  • Create relationships with substance use treatment providers and develop the referral process; maintain a resource listing of substance use disorder services for those engaged through the SBET.


  • Utilizing “Harm Reduction” & “Housing First” philosophies when working with homeless individuals.
  • Ensure that persons with a substance use disorder or substance use symptoms are identified; work with the individuals to develop a substance use treatment and/or referral plan, if desired.
  • Screen for substance use symptoms in homeless individuals suspected of using substances and use Harm Reduction principles in assisting in treatment and referral planning to decrease substance use, address relapse prevention, or address other risky behaviors that impede the participant’s well-being.


  • Work with the SBET to ensure that persons experiencing substance use issues are linked to substance use treatment programs and/or detox services based on level of need.
  • Follow-up to ensure that referrals are completed; provide advocacy as needed.
  • Perseverance:
  • Must maintain thorough and accurate records in both written form and through HMIS.
  • Attend various, regular staff, agency and community meetings as designated by supervisor.
  • Additional tasks, projects and responsibilities as assigned by supervisor.



Position reports to:  Outreach Team Manager            

Performance review:  Annual



Number of employees receiving work direction:  N/A

Position titles reporting to position:   N/A




  • Passion for ending homelessness
  • Knowledge and experience in conducting field-based services; understanding of the Coordinated Entry System (CES) and its overarching goal of achieving “functional zero” for those experiencing homelessness
  • Extensive knowledge of issues facing homeless single adults (e.g. chronic health, substance abuse, mental health, domestic abuse, resources for undocumented persons)
  • Knowledge of “harm reduction” and “housing first” philosophies
  • Knowledge of various Substance Use Disorders according to DSM-5 required
  • Have strong written and verbal communication skills for charting, electronic data entry, and documentation.
  • Clinical experience in working with individuals with multiple diagnoses including substance use, mental illness, and/or physical illness
  • Availability to work after hours for crisis calls and/or disaster response
  • Manage emotionally charged situations by providing crisis intervention in a field-based environment
  • Experience working with a multidisciplinary team
  • Excellent written and verbal communication and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to be flexible and work in an environment subject to ongoing change
  • Bilingual: Spanish/English a plus
  • Valid CA Driver’s License in good standing


  • Position requires registration from CADAC or CAADE and 2 years of experience working with homeless or low-income individuals.


FLSA Status:  Hourly                                  

Payroll Status:  Non-Exempt                                     

Work Schedule:  Full-time


LAFH Benefits: Health, Dental, Vision, Life, Voluntary Life, 403B Retirement Plan, 529 Education Savings Plan, Long Term Disability, Employee Assistance Program, AFLAC Policies, AFLAC FSAs, Legal Policy, Employee Appreciation Program, Company Sponsored Employee Outings, 9/80 Alternative Work Schedule, Paid Sick, Vacation and 11 Observed Holidays.

To apply

To Apply for this position please email your resume and cover letter to [email protected]