Harm Reduction Counselor

NYHRE Harm Reduction Counselors are responsible for providing an array of street and office-based harm reduction services across multiple contracts to individuals engaging in risky behavior, from low-threshold risk reduction education to intensive case management.
NYHRE’s service model is based on educating and empowering individuals to advocate for themselves and make their own change in their lives. Consistent with this philosophy, Harm Reduction Counselors help participants identify their strengths, their needs and the barriers to accessing services and making positive change. NYHRE’s Harm Reduction Counselors facilitate access to services and the creation of plans to address participants’ needs as well as help them develop self-efficacy by connecting them to opportunities to identify, influence and change the policies that affect their lives.

The Harm Reduction Counselors conduct educational and support groups designed to supplement the individual level work and help participants solidify harm reduction practices, promote concepts of wellness and develop their support networks. It is also the role of the Harm Reduction Counselor to actively engage participants entering the drop-in center, making them feel welcome and identifying the participants’ unique needs. This position requires a comprehensive understanding of the spectrum of services provided by NYHRE, the roles and availability of agency staff, and the flow of participants through NYHRE’s structure.

Responsibilities:

  • Represent the agency to all individuals seeking services at storefront offices and at mobile sites. Efficiently identify the needs of participants and link them with appropriate staff to meet their needs.
  • Recruit potential participants through street outreach, low-threshold risk reduction education, networking and targeted marketing.
  • In a manner consistent with Harm Reduction principles, provide substance use and sexual risk assessments and discuss individualized risk reduction strategies, including safer injection practices, safer sex practices, overdose prevention, HIV, HCV, buprenorphine and other topics relevant to people who use drugs.
  • Work with participants to identify their needs, collaboratively develop goals, create plans to meet those goals and identify the best services to help them address their needs and reach their goals.
  • Provide concrete case management services, including referrals to public assistance, food/shelter needs, medical, transportation, mental health and substance use assistance.
  • Provide HIV and Hepatitis C counseling, testing, and connection to care services as requested by participants.
  • Serve as advocate, translator and educator for participants in the effective use of community services. Escort participants as necessary.
  • Monitor and coordinate participants’ progress through NYHRE’s programs as well as external programs and help with the development of ongoing action plans. Track participants in order to document outcomes and ensure they receive proper support.
  • Facilitate participant-centered interventions, workshops and groups, including crisis management, risk reduction, treatment readiness, overdose prevention, HIV health and medication management, and other support and educational groups.
  • Monitor the drop-in center. Ensure the satisfaction of participants with NYHRE services; answer phones; take messages; distribute transportation reimbursements; replenish supplies as needed and provide clerical support as necessary.
  • Continually and proactively educate yourself about new developments in the field and work with colleagues to share information and best practices.
  • Identify and participate in events that will increase NYHRE’s activism profile and connection to the community. Educate participants about the role of activism in social justice gains and motivate them to get involved in advocating for themselves and demanding rights for themselves and their communities.
  • Solicit and track feedback from participants to ensure that the agencies to which we refer are effective and treat participants in a manner consistent with NYHRE’s philosophies.
  • Collect, compile and submit data required for program evaluation and grant reporting under multiple contracts. Maintain accurate and detailed participant records.
  • Engage in program evaluation activities, including ongoing dialogue with participants and other stakeholders to continually improve the location and delivery of our services. Actively participate in regular case conferencing and supervision.
  • Assist in street-site/mobile office set-up, and other duties as assigned.

Requirements and Experience:

  • We are specifically looking for candidates with an active interest in harm reduction, syringe exchange, and/ or social justice as it pertains to individuals who use drugs.
  • Bachelors’ degree in the health and social sciences or related field or significant work-related or life experience.
  • 2-4 years case management or advocacy experience desired. Personal experience effectively navigating supportive services (especially housing) for active drug users preferred.
  • Significant work or life experience in the areas of substance use, HIV and HCV prevention desired. Knowledge of the Bronx and East Harlem IDU/ substance use communities and service providers preferred.
  • Must be an organized, self-motivated team-player, with strong interpersonal skills, excellent written and oral communication skills, and the ability and willingness to be hands-on and solve problems as they arise.
  • Must be committed to the principles of Harm Reduction and to working with low-income people who use drugs and/or engage in sex work and other marginalized populations.
  • Must be dedicated to advancing an agenda of equal rights and social justice for marginalized individuals, especially through participation in advocacy, community activism, and the democratic process.
  • Must be willing and able to work outdoors at our street sites up to 20% of the time; hours may vary. Must be able to work Saturdays.
  • Bilingual (Spanish) preferred.

Reports to: Director of Supportive Services

Status: Part-Time (22.5 hours/week), Non-exempt

To apply:

Send your resume, a cover letter that effectively addresses the above-mentioned responsibilities and requirements as well as demonstrates your ability to contribute positively to the agency, and salary requirements to jobs@nyhre.org. Subject line should read, “PT Harm Reduction Counselor position – last name”. All attachments should adhere to the following naming convention “Lastname Firstname CoverLetter”. As this position requires attention to detail, omitting or not following all of the application procedures will result in your disqualification. No calls please.

About Organization: From its activist beginnings as an underground needle exchange, New York Harm Reduction Educators (NYHRE) is now New York’s largest syringe exchange program, serving over 5,000 low-income drug users and street-based sex workers each year in the Bronx and East Harlem using a unique street-side, low-threshold model. Rooted in social and economic justice, NYHRE provides integrated educational, supportive and substance use services in a non-coercive, grass roots manner that help participants empower themselves, improve the quality of their lives and have a positive impact on our communities.

NYHRE encourages a collaborative environment where staff are expected to be proactive in their work and encouraged to actively participate in the improvement of service delivery and the development of programs.

NYHRE is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Individuals who have personal experience with drug use, PLWHA, women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ community, and the formerly incarcerated are strongly encouraged to apply.

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