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Top Paying Social Work Jobs: #8 Housing & Community Development Director

Housing and Community Development Director

#8 Housing and Community Development Director

By David Lasuertmer

Average Salary: $60,955
Job Outlook: Good (11% growth rate within the next decade)

A current trend in social services, backed by research and data on housing retention among poor and homeless populations, is the “housing-first” model. A large amount of federal, state, and private grant money has been made available in the past 10-15 years to support this endeavor within communities. The main idea in the housing-first model is that providing free or low-cost permanent, supportive housing to chronically homeless individuals is the best first step on the road to recovery. It enables folks to get their personal priorities and needs in order by having a home base from which to operate. Rather than first making individuals jump through hoops like substance abuse recovery programs and job training programs in order to gain housing, individuals are first placed into housing with the idea that these things will follow. It has also proven to lower the strain on a community’s emergency services when these individuals are not on the streets, making it a win-win for everyone involved.

The director of a program such as this wears many hats. They are often responsible for fundraising efforts, employee management, creating criteria and a process for tenant intake and discharge, housing retention services, as well as overall vision and mission for the housing program. For individuals who are passionate about housing and homelessness, this is a job that helps create some of the most profound positive change for some of the most under-served and low-income individuals in our society. Housing First programs often provide rental assistance that varies in duration depending on the household’s needs. Consumers sign a standard lease and are able to access supports as necessary to help them do so. A variety of voluntary services may be used to promote housing stability and well-being during and following housing placement.

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