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We currently are hiring for this position!

  • Outreach Counselor

About Homeless Youth Alliance

Our Mission

Our mission at Homeless Youth Alliance (HYA) is to meet youth experiencing homelessness where they are at, to see all of them as individuals with unique experiences and life stories, and to help them to build healthier lives for themselves. We believe reducing harm is possible through the provision of accessible, non-judgmental relationships, services, information, and opportunities. We strive to empower youth experiencing homelessness to protect themselves, educate each other, reduce harm within the community, and, when they are ready, transition off the street.

Organization Background and Description

While many of our programs have existed in one form or another for decades, in 2006 these various programs coalesced under the umbrella of a single, stand-alone organization, Homeless Youth Alliance (HYA), making it the city’s only grassroots, harm reduction coalition designed for youth by youth experiencing homelessness. Our services consist of peer-based outreach, case management, medical care, mental health services, syringe access, workshops, HIV/HCV testing, a buprenorphine clinic, a transitional housing program and a temporary Safe Sleeping Village known as CAMP (Community Action Made 4 People). On average, HYA serves up to 120 youth per day, and additional people of all ages, through our various programs. Annually, we conduct more than 1,000 case management sessions, have 1,200 therapeutic contacts with 510 youth, broker 1,400 medical appointments, and connect approximately 370 young people to housing, drug detoxification, and residential treatment programs.

Current Organizational Structure

In 2019, HYA became our own 501(c)(3) after 12 years of operating with a fiscal sponsor. We have grown our programming significantly in the past two years to include a transitional housing program for transition age youth, and most recently began operating San Francisco’s 2nd Safe Sleeping Village in a direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The size of HYA’s staff fluctuates based on programming, ranging from as few as 15 to as many at 40. While our services and front-line staff have grown significantly in recent years, the administrative team has not. One of our current hiring goals is to expand our administrative team by adding an Associate Director of Operations and Finance. Our vision is that the individual in this role would provide additional administrative support for HYA’s growing array of programs as well as to lessen HYA’s reliance on our Executive Director for day-to-day administrative functions.

Outreach Counselor

Position Type: 32-40 hours per week; on-site; hourly (includes one-hour paid lunch per full shift)
Compensation: $24-27/hr
Benefits: Full
Reports to: Program Manager of Outreach
Location: Haight Ashbury district of San Francisco
Application Deadline: Rolling deadline; posting will be removed when job is filled

Job Description

The Outreach Counselor (OC) 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 of San Francisco. 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 use and alcohol use, including hepatitis, HIV and overdose. The OC builds 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. (***Although HYA has administrative offices the majority of our work is street-based.***). 

Essential Job Functions

  • 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 at syringe access and disposal sites 
  • As needed, engage with youth experiencing homelessness around housing resources (primarily through the City of San Francisco’s Coordinated Entry System)
  • 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 model 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 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 be able to read and write in English at a functional level.
  • Must have excellent communication and listening skills, including the ability to speak with, understand and have clear communication with participants and other service providers. 
  • 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 walk for three hours, stand for two hours and climb stairs daily. Must be able to lift and carry 30 lbs.

Application Instructions

The position is posted until filled. A complete application package must include: cover letter, resume, and responses to the 7 questions below, sent to Incomplete or improperly submitted applications will not be considered. You must be available to come to our office for an in-person interview. 

In addition to providing an up-to-date resume, in your application, please respond in writing to the following 7 questions: (applicants who do not respond to the questions will not be considered)

  • What interests you in working for Homeless Youth Alliance?
  • Do you have a personal connection to our mission?
  • What qualities do you see as important to work with youth experiencing homelessness?
  • What are your feelings about drugs and alcohol and working with active often chaotic users?
  • What types or groups of youth do you work best with? What types or groups of youth present you with the biggest challenge? 
  • When someone you care about makes a decision you don’t personally agree with, or finds themselves in a tough situation, how do you deal with it? How would you deal with the same situation working with the youth at HYA?
  • 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?

Again, to be considered for this position you must send:

  • a cover letter
  • a resume, AND
  • answers to the questions above


Equal Opportunity Employer

HYA is an equal opportunity employer. Applications are strongly encouraged from women, people of color, young people, lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, transgender and genderqueer people, people living with HIV/AIDS, people with disabilities, and bilingual and bicultural people. Pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance, we will consider for employment qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records. We have a long practice of aiming to hire and retain staff who have lived experience that reflects the population we are honored to work alongside.