san francisco bay bridge view


Job Title: Outreach Counselor, Homeless Youth Alliance (HYA)

Although HYA has administrative offices the majority of our work is street-based.

PRIMARY PURPOSE: The Outreach Counselor conducts street-based outreach and one-on-one case management sessions to youth experiencing homeless, runaway adolescents and young adults predominantly in the Haight Ashbury district. Many youth we work with are injection drug users and experience high levels of trauma. The OC promotes an understanding of the risks associated with homelessness, drug and alcohol use; including hepatitis, HIV and overdose. They build non-judgmental, supportive relationships with young people, guides them to appropriate referral resources, and advocates for their care. Most importantly the OC accepts youth exactly the way they are and allows them to set their own goals at their own pace.


– Treat all participants and team members with kindness, respect and dignity.

– Provide services and support free of judgement.

– Contact and build relationships with participants in the target population during daily street outreach and and syringe access and disposal sites.

– Coordinate and facilitate weekly health education and art groups.

– Distribute harm reduction supplies, hygiene supplies, education materials and snacks.

– Provide preventive health education around substance and alcohol use and safer sex practices, using harm reduction techniques.

– Refer participants into counseling, mental health and medical services.

– Refer participants into drug treatment and housing.

– Attend staff meetings, staff groups, trainings and conferences as assigned.

– Maintain good self-care.

– Role models healthy and professional behavior.

– Perform manual duties, such as cleaning, preparing snacks and stocking supplies.

– Maintain confidentiality, appropriate boundaries and a sense of humor.


– Personal experience with homelessness or extensive knowledge of issues facing youth experiencing homelessness.

– A minimum of one year of professional or volunteer experience in harm reduction, HIV prevention outreach or similar work with the target population. Must have the ability to engage IDUs and their sex partners in informational, non-judgmental discussions about HIV, hepatitis and related health issues.

– Must have the ability to engage IDU’s and their sex partners in informational, non-judgmental discussions about – HIV, hepatitis and related health issues.

– Must be streetwise and be able to think critically and solve practical problems.

– Must be comfortable and confident approaching and engaging with a diverse population of young people.

– Must be able to advocate for participants with medical, treatment and other social service providers and police.

– Must be able to keep consistent written records and be proficient with Google programs (docs, word, excel, calendars, email, etc.) and basic math skills.

– Must have excellent communication and listening skills.

– Must maintain strong confidentiality and appropriate boundaries.

– Must be sensitive to multicultural issues of race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality.

– Must have strong self awareness, be open to learning new approaches and concepts, be open to giving and receiving feedback.

– Must be able to work in a stressful, fast-paced environment and both autonomously and as part of a team.

– Valid CA Drivers License a plus.

– Familiarity with San Francisco and local services for youth experiencing homelessness a plus.

– If in recovery, two continuous years are suggested.

– If from the target population or a former HYA participant, two continuous years not engaged with our services is essential and required, no exceptions.

PHYSICAL DEMANDS: Must be able to read and write in English at a functional level. Must be able to speak with, understand and have clear communication with participants and other service providers. Must be able to walk for three hours, stand for two hours and climb stairs daily. Must be able to lift and carry 30 lbs.

To Apply: Please email your resume, cover letter and answers to the seven questions that follow this paragraph to: Enter the name of the position that you are applying for in the subject line of your email. Applicants that do not include those answers, will not be considered. You must be available to come to our San Francisco office for the interview. Do not wait to apply! We will fill the position, as soon as we have the right candidate.

Please respond to the following 7 questions: (applicants who do not respond to the questions will not be considered)

1) What interests you in working for Homeless Youth Alliance?

2) Do you have a personal connection to our mission?

3) What qualities do you see as important to work with youth experiencing homelessness?

4) What are your feelings about drugs and alcohol and working with active often chaotic users?

5) What types or groups of youth do you work best with? What types or groups of youth present you with the biggest challenge?

6) When someone you care about makes a decision you don’t personally agree with, or finds them self in a tough situation, how do you deal with it? How would you deal with the same situation working with the youth at HYA?

7) Have you accessed or received services during periods of instability in your life? If so, can you describe what you found to be positives and negatives of that support?