Last Updated on October 1, 2020 by Sarah Ahmed

 Title: HCV Harm Reduction Peer Worker

Department: HW Health Services

Reports to: Harm Reduction Program Coordinator (Van Asher)

 Agency Description:

Housing Works-Positive Health Project have collaborated on a HCV testing and treatment program to identify, support and get, those living with HCV into care.

Within the Harm Reduction program, we utilize peer-based interventions to reach people who engage in high risk behaviors primarily people who are injection drug users (IDU). Our target populations include injection (IDU), sex workers, MSM (men who have sex with men), persons of color, transgender individuals, the chronically homeless and those with mental health issues.

Peer Position Overview:

Peer workers are individuals who by their sole identification with the Harm Reduction community can provide program participants the support and direction needed. As a harm reduction program, we meet our clients “Where they are at”: that is, without judgements, prejudices, or pre-conceived ideas of who our clients are.

Services are provided at both Housing Works Manhattan Harm Reduction (743-743 East 9th Street) and at Housing Works Positive Health Project (30 West 37th Street)

Outreach is conducted within community organizations, twice weekly in drop-in groups, social media/online dating apps, street outreach, high-risk areas, and non-traditional sites frequented by the target population.

Peer workers responsibilities are structured within the following services or interventions: (Peer workers are expected to conduct ALL of the following services and interventions)

 Outreach Services (Traditional + Non-Traditional)

  • Arrange and conduct street outreach activities 2 times weekly (3-4 hours each) in the neighborhoods adjacent to HWCH + HWPHP to reach individuals who are at risk for HCV
  • Conduct street outreach activities in areas of high-need as designated by DOHMH and outlined in the scope of work
    • Outreach consists of making contact with at least 10 anonymous individuals OR 3 confidential engagements of potential clients
  • Maintain clear boundaries between clients and peers in all circumstances
  • Provide safe-injection kits/education, and safe-sex kits/education to individuals during outreach
  • Be able to speak knowledgeably about Housing Works services, and to educate potential clients while on outreach activities
  • Maintain accurate documentation of program activities and manage data collection for outreach and client engagement
  • Manage material and supplies for outreach
  • Attend appropriate trainings to enhance skills and capacity for interacting with client base
  • Coordinate with other peers and program coordinator re: outreach schedule
  • Distribute info/materials and provide education around HCV, PEP/PrEP, provide linkages to initial medical visits
  • Promote HCV testing and treatment care coordination

 Health Education

  • Provide harm reduction supplies/equipment and other prevention paraphernalia
  • Provide heath education, adapted and updated information materials to program participants
  • Educate program participants on specific harm reduction activities that reduce harm from drug use and sex practices
  • Help service users to identify which risky practices they believe could be reduced or eliminated and discuss potential obstacles
  • Identify short-term and long-term goals for clients
  • Develop SMART goals to assist clients in harm reduction practices
  • Do overdose prevention trainings with clients and potential clients
  • Education clients about safer use and safer injection and ways to reduce the sexual risk of infection with HCV, HIV & other STI’s
  • Be informed about substitution therapies to aid in reducing one’s substance use
  • Be comfortable discussing intimate sexual behavior and practices with MSM and TSM clients
  1. Group Facilitation
  • Assist with co-facilitating drop-in groups & treatment groups at HW & HWPHP
  • Present/reiterate group guidelines during each group and invite feedback
  • Ability to enforce group guidelines in a productive and respectful manner
  • Uphold and remind participants to the importance of confidentiality
  • Monitor group energy, and redirect when needed
  • Develop group themes, either in group or pre-determined
  • Help group stay on task/focused
  • Be able to speak to HW/PHP HCV services when a client need is identified
  • Ability to handle difficult situations and deescalate conflict when needed
  • Maintain group sign-in sheet, and metro-card sign in sheet
  • Identify currently enrolled clients, as well as potential clients who attend group
  1. Client Navigation: Accompaniment & Coordination
  • Work directly with the Peer Navigator
  • As needed/assigned, assist clients in meeting their medical appointments
  • As needed/assigned, accompany clients to HCV related medical appointments
  • Properly document accompaniment sessions with program participants
  • Relay pertinent information to the client’s care coordination team
  • Provide clients with appropriate referrals to internal as well as external programs
  • Attend meetings and trainings as needed
  • Ensure client confidentiality is maintained
  • Advocate on behalf of client to received needed services
  • Ability to meet with client and identify needs – and communicate those to the clients care team
  • Attend bi-weekly 1×1 meetings with Program Coordinator to discuss clients, and professional development
  • Refer clients in need of mental health counseling to Program Coordinator

Knowledge and Skill Requirements

  • Experience in either practicing or delivering Harm Reduction strategies
  • Ability to maintain sex-positive and non-judgmental stance with all clientele
  • Knowledge of outreach strategies, syringe exchange, and HIV prevention techniques as well as the ability to carry out outreach activities
  • Ability to recognize personal bias, and to work with supervisors on challenging bias
  • Experience working with people who use substances, sex workers, the homeless, and those who hold a mental diagnosis
  • Team Player, with ability to manage inter-personal dynamics
  • Ability to identify problems, as well as provide solutions to management
  • Must be willing to work outdoors and offsite for several hours during outreach activities
  • Ability to work with diverse communities
  • Working knowledge of Microsoft Word, Excel and email correspondence
  • Ability to complete required program documentation on-time
  • Be able to set boundaries with clients, and provide services in-line with Housing Works policies and best-practices

Payment/Compensation

  • Peers will be compensated for hours worked; vacation, sick or personal time will be unpaid
  • Peer work is a temporary position (of up to 2 years) and can be terminated at any time by the peer or the agency
  • Performance reviews will be done every 6 months
  • Peer workers receive an hourly stipend of $8 per hour worked
  • Peers are paid bi-weekly (on Fridays)
  • Peer stipend work does not guarantee an offer of employment after the 2-year period
  • Peers are expected to document all hours worked, and receive written sign off on hours by the Program Coordinator

Additional Information

  • Peers will be required to provide appropriate documentation to administrative assistant prior to hire including: proper identification, resume, copies of previous trainings/certifications, W4 form, and peer information forms
  • Peer will attend assigned individual supervision with Program Coordinator bi-weekly (45 min) to discuss professional development, documentation, outreach and client concerns
  • Peers will be required to attend a once monthly peer meeting for all Harm Reduction peers
  • Peers will be required to attend weekly group supervision
  • Peers will attend trainings as scheduled, to increase knowledge of population and skill set and to provide foundation to peer support work. Peers will provide copies of training certificates to supervisor after completion of each training

 

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