Company: City of Somerville

Job description:

The Program Specialist for Fair Housing, Inclusionary Housing, and Program support engages in an array of activities and projects that aid the City of Somerville in developing and implementing housing programs to meet community needs. The employee will assist with activities in support of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) funded housing projects and programs, including but not limited to those funded through Community Development Block Grant (“CDBG”) and HOME Investment Partnerships Program (“HOME”) funds, fair housing and the City’s Inclusionary Housing Program.  The employee will serve as staff to the City’s Fair Housing Commission, review and respond to housing discrimination complaints, and carry out fair housing initiatives and reporting activities. Additional duties include maintaining, monitoring and updating the City’s Subsidized Housing Inventory and administering the Closing Cost and Down Payment Assistance Programs. The employee also performs related duties as required. It is the expectation that the employee will balance all areas of work equally, to the greatest extent possible, with the understanding there are natural ebbs and flows to workflow.

Essential Functions:

The essential functions or duties listed below are intended only as illustrations of the various types of work that may be performed. The omission of specific statements of duties does not exclude them from the position if the work is similar, related, or a logical assignment to the position.

  • Serve as staff to the Fair Housing Commission: facilitate Commission meetings and special events; prepare agendas, minutes, and annual report for transmittal to the City Council and Mayor; handle referral of housing discrimination complaints and reasonable accommodation requests and ongoing efforts related to the City’s Assessment of Fair Housing (implementing actions to mitigate impediments to fair housing in Somerville);
  • Assist in marketing and outreach activities of Inclusionary projects and various HUD  funded housing projects or other housing programs including but not limited to those projects or programs funded through CDBG or HOME funds; attend outreach events and information sessions to present on those programs; provide customer service to prospective and active applicants and preparation of marketing materials; assist with affordable housing lottery preparation and implementation;
  • Responsible for the review of tenant selection and screening criteria, the appeals process  and leases for Affordable Dwelling Units created through the Inclusionary Housing Program;
  • Review applications for completeness, to ensure all necessary documentation is provided for HUD funded projects and programs, Inclusionary and other housing programs;
  • Determine and certify income eligibility of applicants to HUD funded housing projects and programs, Inclusionary Housing projects, and/or other housing programs, including income re-certifications.
  • Assist with updating Inclusionary Housing and other program information on an ongoing basis, including on the Housing Division’s website, flyers and brochures (electronic and/or hard copy);
  • Assist with coverage of the Inclusionary Housing Program general email and Inclusionary Housing Program general voicemail, in addition to Inclusionary Housing Program office coverage and open office hours/virtual office hours;
  • Assist with maintaining the Consolidated Rental Waitlist for the Inclusionary Housing Program;
  • Assist with updating the Inclusionary Housing Pipeline spreadsheet and tracking applicant demographics including race, ethnicity, and other information at the direction of the Inclusionary Housing Program Manager;
  • Coordinate fair housing training for property owners and property managers;
  • Assist in preparing information on fair housing, federally funded, and/or Inclusionary and other programs as necessary for the Mayor’s Office and or City Council;
  • Responsible for maintaining, monitoring and updating the City’s Subsidized Housing Inventory and related work monitoring status of expiring use properties;
  • Administer the Closing Cost and Down Payment Assistance Programs and update program guidelines and various Program information;
  • Present information on fair housing, the Inclusionary Housing Program and the Closing Cost and Down Payment Programs at first-time homebuyer training classes held by a local nonprofit;
  • Assist in preparation of reports on program activities, selected best-practice and/or other research, and survey preparation;
  • Assist with other activities as assigned.

Recommended Minimum Qualifications:

Education and Experience:

Bachelor’s Degree and three (3) years’ experience; or any equivalent combination of education, training and experience which provides the required knowledge, skills and abilities to perform the essential functions of the job.

Special Requirements:

  • Job duties  include attending some evening meetings as necessary.
  • Bilingual or Multilingual lingual ability in Spanish, Portuguese, and/or Haitian-Creole is preferred but not required.

Knowledge, Abilities and Skill:

  • Knowledge:  Some knowledge of and/or experience with strategies and programs geared toward maintaining and expanding affordable housing opportunities; knowledge of housing income certification process; federal and/or state fair housing law; strong knowledge of Excel, PowerPoint, Photoshop, Illustrator, and social media applications are preferred. Familiarity with virtual meeting platforms such as Zoom, Go to Meeting and Teams a plus. Familiarity with Mail Chimp a plus.
  • Abilities:  Position requires the ability to communicate effectively orally and in writing with other City departments, state and federal agencies, architects, contractors, developers, tenants, property owners, supervisors, employees, and the general public. Demonstrates the ability to work as a team member and maintain project timelines; continuous effort to improve operations, decrease turnaround times, streamline work processes, and work cooperatively and jointly to provide quality customer service to the public at-large.
  • Skills:  This position requires strong skills in oral and written communication; excellent customer service skills. Bi-lingual ability in Spanish, Portuguese, and/or Haitian-Creole is preferred but not required.

Work Environment:

The work environment involves everyday discomforts typical of offices, with occasional exposure to outside elements.  Noise or physical surroundings may be distracting, but conditions are generally not unpleasant.  Employee may be required to work beyond normal business hours in response to attend evening meetings or complete work assignments.

Physical and Mental Requirements:

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the position’s essential functions.

Physical Skills:

Minimal physical demands are required to perform the work. Work effort principally involves sitting to perform work tasks, with intermittent periods of stooping, walking, and standing. Work requires some agility such as moving in or about construction sites or over rough terrain. There may also be some occasional lifting of objects such as office equipment or photocopy paper (up to 30lbs.).

Motor Skills:

Duties are largely mental rather than physical, but the job may occasionally require minimal motor skills for activities such as moving objects, operating a telephone, personal computer and/or most other office equipment including word processing, filing and sorting of papers.

Visual Skills:
Visual demands require constantly reading documents for general understanding and analytical purposes.

Job type: Full Time

Fully remote: No

Salary range: $64,945.93 annualized + benefits

Location: Somerville Massachusetts


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