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Founded by Veterans in Hampton Roads

Company Name:
Approximate Salary:
13.75 - 15.00 Per Hour
Seattle, Washington
United States
Position type:
Full Time
Experience level:
Entry Level
Education level:
High School or equivalent

Shelter Counselor - Swing Shift

DESC is a nationally recognized innovator in homeless services. Our original, and still foundational service, is our Emergency Shelter Program. Since we opened in 1979, DESC has operated emergency shelter for the most vulnerable men and women experiencing homelessness in our community. Unlike traditional shelter systems, DESC incorporates harm reduction principles into all of our work, meaning we ensure we are providing shelter to those who are most in need, not the most willing to simply meet program requirements.

We are looking for energized and passionate Shelter Counselors to manage basic day-to-day operations in the Shelter Program. Shelter Counselors are tasked delivering these critical survival services as part of a large team, all of whom are committed to serving our most vulnerable citizens.


  • Maintain order and communicate/enforce agency rules and policies.
  • Intervene in client crises (medical, mental health, interpersonal).
  • Initiate and maintain appropriate social interactions with clients.
  • Monitor dorms, bathrooms and dayrooms to maintain safety and security of clients and premises.
  • Consult with other staff and/or outside agencies as needed regarding client issues and needs.
  • Provide information on social/health services and procedures (in?agency and outside agency) to clients.
  • Refer clients needing more extensive services to specialized program staff or to outside services, when appropriate.
  • Screen referrals from other agencies.
  • Work with and support community volunteers who volunteer during shift.
  • Actively participate in staff meetings and in?service trainings.
  • Assist with the preparation, organization, serving and cleanup of food service scheduled during shift.
  • Maintain order and cleanliness of work area.
  • Recruit and supervise client volunteers for regular volunteer tasks.
  • Work scheduled hours at shelter stations and/or milieu coverage and perform all duties of those areas.
  • Monitor and ensure the return of all towels, blankets and other DESC property issued to clients.
  • Register clients and document services provided during shift hours, in accordance with established procedures.
  • Monitor day rest clients.
  • Assist with transition from nighttime shelter to day program activities, such as morning cleanup.
  • Observe client behaviors in the area surrounding the shelter, and intervene when necessary to discourage loitering, fighting, use or sale of drugs and alcohol, and other uncivil or illegal behaviors.
  • Provide assistance to homeless people and others who are experiencing crises caused by mental illness and/or excessive drug/alcohol consumption.
  • Provide information about and referral to other services available in the community to homeless people and others in need.
  • Other duties as assigned.


  • At least one year experience in human services (paid or volunteer), preferably working with adults challenged by homelessness, mental illness and/or chemical dependency.
  • Basic understanding of homelessness and various characteristics of homeless adult populations; experience with mental illness and/or chemical dependency preferred.
  • Ability to communicate and work effectively with staff from various backgrounds and disciplines.
  • Ability to work effectively with clients displaying a wide range of unpleasant and/or bizarre behavior.
  • Subscribe to philosophy of cooperation and continuity across programs, and of consideration and respect for clients.


The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. While performing the duties of this job, the employee will be required to sit, communicate with other employees, required to lift and carry items weighing up to 40 pounds and to operate computer hardware systems. Specific vision abilities required by the job include close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and the ability to adjust focus.


DESC is committed to diversity in the workplace, and promotes equal employment opportunities for all staff members and applicants. The Agency will not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, national origin, marital status, or the presence of any sensory, mental or physical disability in any employment practice, unless based on a bona fide occupational qualification. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.


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