Housing Advocate

Job Type

Full Time




66-70 Union Square, #104
United States


The Community Action Agency of Somerville (CAAS), a private non-profit agency incorporated in 1981, is the legally designated anti-poverty agency for Somerville. The mission of CAAS is to reduce poverty among local families and individuals while working to counteract, and whenever possible, eliminate, the societal conditions that cause and perpetuate poverty.

The CAAS Homelessness Prevention Program (HPP) provides advocacy and case management to low income Somerville residents at risk of homelessness. This position is grant-funded for one year.

The primary focus of HPP is to empower tenants in the eviction process to assert their legal rights and give them the resources to avoid homelessness and move towards sustainability. HPP advocates help clients navigate both the court and subsidized housing appeal processes by assisting unrepresented tenants file legal pleadings, negotiate with landlords, prepare for court and administrative hearings, and attempt to obtain legal representation.  HPP advocates also help tenants avoid eviction and stabilize their housing by applying for homelessness prevention funds, accessing income supports (including SNAP, utilities discount rates, LIHEAP, child support etc.), applying for emergency public housing, and by identifying any other needs clients may have in order to stabilize.

HPP also assists clients who may be at risk of homelessness due to unsafe or unhealthy housing conditions or due to termination of utility services, rental assistance or public benefits. Through advocacy with landlords, utilities companies and government agencies including the Board of Health, Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) and housing authorities, HPP helps clients get through these crises and move towards sustainability. HPP Advocates also assess the broader needs of the client and their family in order to provide referral and case management services.



·        Perform screening, eligibility determination, intake, referrals, crisis case management and follow-up.

·        Provide a wide variety of advocacy services, ranging from client education to advice, court and administrative hearing support and representation, to client group workshops and advocacy coordination with community groups.

·        Assist clients in resolving benefits issues, utility disputes; refer to other agencies as appropriate and follow up with clients.

·        Assist clients in accessing other supports in addition to housing stabilization such as addiction treatment, counseling, immigration advocacy, education aid, child care, etc.

·        Maintain accurate and current confidential intake and case management records; ensure that information is entered into client database.

·        Develop and maintain expertise in the areas of tenants’ rights, federal and state housing programs, and public benefits; share information with colleagues and clients.

·        Design and deliver meetings, workshops or other special events designed to inform the low-income community about CAAS services and other community resources.


·        Associate’s Degree in Human Services, liberal arts or other related field, or equivalent experience.

·        Experience working in direct services and crisis intervention preferred. Familiarity with the wide array of supports and opportunities available to low income families.

·        Comfortable reading, understanding and explaining complicated legal documents (leases, court pleadings, agreements for judgments, statutes, regulations and policies related to tenants’ rights and public benefits programs) to clients with a variety of levels of education and English proficiency.

·        Strong verbal and written communication skills: Ability to write advocacy letters on behalf of clients and advocate and negotiate with landlords, housing authorities, utilities companies, and other government agencies.

·        Experience using client management database system preferred.

·        Comfortable using Microsoft Office Suite, email and file management.

·        Ability to travel to housing developments, rental offices, agency sites, etc., scattered throughout the metropolitan area; willingness to work some nights and weekends.

·        Ability to communicate in a second language (Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Spanish) strongly preferred.

·        Acceptable CORI required.

To Apply

Interested candidates should send cover letters and resumes to: jgrogan@caasomerville.org

CAAS values diversity in its workforce and candidates from a wide range of backgrounds are encouraged to apply.


Vacation: 18 days earned years 1-5 accrued at the rate of 1.5 days per month

                20 days earned years 6 and 7

                25 days earned year 8 and above

               A maximum of 10 days can be carried over to the next calendar year

Sick Days: 15 days earned annually. Sick time is capped at 45 days accrued and can be carried indefinitely.

Personal Day: One personal day per year (earned and must be used by June 30)

Holidays: 13 Holidays per year

Health Insurance: CAAS currently offers one health plan to non-union employees: Blue Cross Blue Shield HMO Blue New England. CAAS currently pays 80% of the plan, individual, individual plus one or family and the employee’s 20% contribution is taken through weekly payroll deductions. (This will be prorated if part time based on the number of hours).

In addition, CAAS has a Health Care Reimbursement account (HRA), and reimburses you for half of any deductibles you might incur up to $1,000 for an individual, and up to $2,000 for those on family or 2 person plans.

Dental Insurance is provided through Blue Cross/Blue Shield at no cost to administrative employees.

Other Insurance CAAS provides and fully pays which is provided by The Principal:

 CAAS purchases Life Insurance (at a rate of 1x salary) through Sun Life, as well as short and long term disability for each benefits-eligible employees.

EAP: CAAS offers an Employee Assistance Program(EAP) through ADP which allows employees and their household members to contact professional counseling services for any stressful situation they may encounter, in or out of the workplace, including referrals for elder-care, mental health, legal planning and financial advice. This plan is completely confidential and is free for all CAAS employees.

Employees may opt to purchase additional coverage’s such as accident, cancer, short term disability, hospital confinement indemnity, term life, universal life or whole life insurance from Colonial Life Employees pay the full cost of premiums, but may manage payments through payroll deductions.

CAAS offers a 403(b) retirement plan through Mutual of America. Employees are eligible to contribute on the date of hire, and are eligible to receive the CAAS contribution (6% of salary) after one year of employment. CAAS makes this basic contribution whether or not the employee participates. Should the employee participate, CAAS will contribute an additional amount (25% of the employee’s contribution). Other benefits are more fully set out in the Personnel Policies which will be given to you on your first day of employment.          

Level of Language Proficiency

Fluency in Spanish/Haitain Creole/Portuguese highly preferred.

Professional Level

None specified

Minimum Education Required

No requirement

How To Apply



Send cover letters and resumes to: jgrogan@caasomerville.org