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Professional Certificate for Homeless Support Specialist

Professional Certificate for Homeless Support Specialist

Course schedule subject to change

In-Person

Online

H Hybrid

Required (13 units)
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Winter

Spring

Summer

Fall

Working with the Homeless Population

This course provides an overview of homelessness, the factors contributing to it, historical and current best practice solutions, and best practices in engaging those in various homeless situations.The specific practices covered will include best practices for initial engagement especially in an outreach environment, ethics and boundaries, professionalism, effective communication, intervention with escalating clients, cultural competency, the person-centered approach, trauma-informed care, motivational interviewing, harm reduction, resource navigation, and techniques for self-care for professionals working in the field. Throughout the course, students will gain a working understanding of homeless services policy and ecosystems, the local Continuum of Care, and the types of housing supports available. Approaches to ending homeless situations covered include Diversion, Housing First, and Peer Support. Macro issues covered include housing and shelter policy, contributing factors and causes of homelessness, community organizing toward a “YIMBY” (Yes In My Backyard) environment, and the mindsets and experience of those in cycles of homelessness and generational poverty. Special emphasis will be placed on adopting a solution-minded attitude of cultural humility, and entering interactions as a learner.

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3 units

Identifying and Preventing Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adults

This course consists of four modules designed to increase awareness of human trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adults. The modules include: 1) the definition of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC); 2) the types of CSEC; 3) the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Adults; and 4) understanding how boys, LGBTQ youth, foster youth, and children with learning disabilities are impacted by CSEC.

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1 units

Faces of Homelessness

Despite the Federal Government’s claims of national prosperity, nearly 1.5 million people were homelessness at some point during 2018. Contrary to popular belief, only about a third is part of the subgroup known as the “chronically homeless,” (who typically have co-occurring disorders of substance use, mental illness, and/or chronic health conditions). The purpose of this course is to change the perceptions of homelessness to better reflect the diverse group of individuals it affects today. Over two-thirds are experiencing homelessness for the first time, or may be intermittently on the streets when their temporary housing at a friend’s, relative, or shelter abruptly ends. Special emphasis is placed on the two fastest-growing populations: young adults (16 to 25 years of age) and seniors (65+ years of age). Utilizing interdisciplinary models that address the physical, environmental, social, and behavioral determinants of overall health and wellness, this course will provide students the tools of a “Change Agent” to make a significant difference in the lives of the homeless in their community.

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2 units

Mental Health Issues in the Homeless Population

This course is a comprehensive study and exploration of the overall homelessness problem in the United States, including a historical overview of the problem. Explore the roles of mental health, domestic violence, and trauma on the homeless population, and discuss how different cities in the country are addressing homelessness, including services provided, and the roles of law enforcement and the judicial systems. Students will go over basic tenets of mental health assessment and intervention with chronically homeless individuals, and focus on the two predominant approaches to treating homelessness: Treatment First vs. Housing First, and the challenges each approach has. The course narrows its focus on the chronically homeless, which account for 15% of the population, yet consume more than 50% of available resources.

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3 units

Effective Case Management: Connecting to the Homeless Community

This course covers the basic principles of effective case management with individuals experiencing homelessness or marginal housing. The focus is on understanding the mechanics of case management, various models of case management, the process and functions of case management, and the historical context of case management. Topics include: historical origins and recent developments in case management, functions of case managers, techniques of case management, removing barriers through inter-agency and inter-professional collaboration, identification of other critical agencies, resource mobilization, technical assistance, and case consultation. The course will also discuss the related areas in client advocacy such as the Harm Reduction Model, 12-Step Model of Recovery, Multidisciplinary Approach, Trauma Informed Care, Motivational Interviewing, utilizing a “Whole Person” approach and critical time intervention, legal/ethical issues surrounding homelessness, and diversion. The areas of appropriate documentation and confidentiality are also addressed.

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2 units

Introduction to Substance Use and Abuse

This course is a comprehensive introductory study, and exploration of behavioral health and substance use and abuse. The model will include a historical view, the biology of psychoactive substances, and prevention of drug use as part of an overall continuum of care.

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2 units

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