Problem Solving Specialist

San Francisco, California
The published hourly rate for a Problem Solving Specialist is $24.72.
Feb 07, 2019
Mar 09, 2019
Focus Areas
Housing / Shelter
Position Type
Full Time
Degree Level
Willingness to Travel
up to 25%
Experience Level


To remove barriers to access, the Problem Solving Specialist team will serve single adults experiencing homelessness throughout San Francisco including, for example, streets, county jail, or shelters. Problem Solving Specialists primarily operate out of ECS Access Points, but may also spend a majority of their day in the field providing services for people experiencing homelessness who cannot travel to an Access Point.


As a result of ECS continuing to collaborate with the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing and other external stakeholders in launching this project, this job description may change both prior to hire, and after, as we continue to implement the best approach and services.  


1. Screen and assess single adults experiencing homelessness using standardized tools, prioritization and referral protocols integrated into the ONE system.


2. Using a collaborative, client-centric, trauma-informed approach, services techniques (such as mediation), and short-term assistance, support single adults in avoiding entry to shelter or the experience of street homelessness by identifying creative solutions to exiting homelessness.


3. Analyze information, problems, situations, and practices/procedures in order to define any barriers to a Problem Solving resolution.


4. Engage participants in problem solving dialogue to assess for additional resources available within the participant’s own network. 


5. Recognizing each service seeker’s unique situation, support individuals to look for creative solutions that can be quickly implemented.


6. Provide crisis intervention assistance as needed.


7. Based on the information collected during the assessment process and using the ONE System and ECS protocol, make authorized, prioritized referrals into housing programs and ECS Housing Navigation services.


8. Conduct immediate and longer-term follow up to ascertain the effectiveness of Problem Solving activities.


9. Track and report progress and services for each client receiving Problem Solving assistance and the project as a whole.


10. Keep accurate records and charts, enter required data in ONE System.


11. Provide professional, accessible and culturally relevant support, advocacy and information to program participants.


12. Work within and promote the integrated services team model in an environment dedicated to harm reduction, recovery and wellness.


13. Serve as liaison to community-based and governmental service partners as requested.


14. Participate in staff training, staff meetings, and development activities as directed.


15. Engage effectively and constructively with the Manager of Problem Solving Services to make program refinements in the best interests of service users


16. Participate in ensuring confidentiality of participant information as legally required.


17. Perform other duties as assigned.




Master’s Degree in psychology, counseling social work, or related field PLUS at least 2 years’ experience closely related to the job description  OR Bachelor’s degree in psychology, counseling social work, or related field PLUS at least 3 years’ experience closely related to the job description.

Substantial or demonstrated knowledge/experience working with individuals in crisis or unstable housing situations.

A strong knowledge of issues confronted by and sensitivity to adults with substance abuse, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, mental health issues, history of trauma and co-occurring-diagnoses. 

Demonstrated respect for, experience with, and willingness to work with a diverse client population. 

Deep knowledge and understanding of the resources available to homeless and low-income residents of San Francisco.

Exceptional verbal and written communication.

Demonstrates the necessary attitudes, knowledge, and skills to deliver culturally competent services and work effectively in cross-cultural situations.

Professional and discreet demeanor with good interpersonal skills. Ability to handle confidential information and use of tact, respect, discretion and judgement.

Organize material, information, and/or client’s needs in a systematic way to optimize efficiency and minimize harm or duplication of efforts.

Collaborative work style, demonstrated ability to work independently and effectively as an individual and part of a team for successful outcomes.

Computer skills and knowledge of Microsoft Office software is required.  Knowledge of the ONE System preferred.

Commitment to ECS’s mission and to its organizational values.

Ability to be flexible and adapt to changes as our Coordinated Entry activities respond to lessons learned and emerging needs.


Must secure finger image screening and annual TB screening. Must be able to meet physical requirements of the position which may include long periods at a desk and/or computer workstation, daily travel to various sites, and lifting of up to 25 lbs.


ECS will consider for employment qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records as consistent with San Francisco’s Fair Chance Ordinance.



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