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Housing First – Forensic Peer Specialist

Housing First Forensic Peer Specialist

Pathways Vermont is committed to a diverse workplace that reflects the communities we serve, and is particularly interested in receiving applications from a broad spectrum of people including people with military experience, individuals with disabilities, and people of color.  It is the policy of Pathways Vermont that all employees and applicants shall receive equal consideration and treatment in employment without regard to race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, veteran status, age, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identification, or disability.  

Pathways Vermont Housing First Program provides permanent, independent housing for individuals who are exiting homelessness or involved with the department of corrections and struggle with serious mental health challenges.  Pathways combines housing support with supportive services in the areas of mental health, physical health, substance use, education, and employment.  Pathways Vermont believes in services that are client-centered and client-directed and believes in using a harm-reduction framework to address client needs.

The Forensic Peer Specialist brings their unique lived experience of having been incarcerated, under the supervision of the Dept. of Corrections and/or criminal justice involvement to the team, supporting individuals who are exiting incarceration and under supervision of the Department of Corrections to transition to the community and thrive. 

Peer Specialists are members of the interdisciplinary team who provide flexible, compassionate, community based services that are designed to promote the stability, recovery, and community reintegration of individuals who experience mental health challenges, histories of homelessness, and may also have challenges around substance use. 

Positions Available:

  • Full-time position (35-40 hrs) per week

  • Chittenden County (primarily)
  • Franklin County (as needed)

Supervised by: Regional Senior Team Leader


  • Using their own unique lived experience with incarceration, supervision and/or criminal justice involvement to support clients with the transition and re-entry process from incarceration to community. Provide critical aid to persons in the early stages of re-entry.
  • Engage in relationship building/rapport building with clients and provide service from a “Choice” perspective as well as client centered, harm reduction, and strengths based approaches.
  • Assist with maintaining stable housing; employment; disability benefits; transportation coordination; linkage to community behavioral  health services and recovery supports; and learning new skills. 
  • Assist with maintaining adherence to conditions of supervision and satisfying criminal justice system requirements and conditions
  • Help to relinquish attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors learned as survival mechanisms in criminal justice settings 
  • Meet with clients in jail if returned to incarceration and/or prior initial re-entry
  • Provide pro social interaction opportunities and community connections post incarceration
  • Provide support with technical training to those individuals who experience a radically new world due to technological advances which have occurred while incarcerated.
  • Share employment and housing resources having had to overcome similar challenges due to their own criminal histories.
  • Collaborate with clients in the formulation and maintenance of a comprehensive, Medicaid-compliant service plan that is reviewed and modified with the client on a regular basis
  • Maintain written and computerized records, compile reports and complete other program documentation (including case notes, face sheets, statistics, letters, petty cash receipts, etc.).
  • Other duties as assigned.


  • Lived experience of having been incarcerated, under supervision and/or in the criminal justice system
  • Lived experience of mental health, substance use, homelessness and/or other life challenges will be considered an asset 
  • Patience, creativity, flexibility, compassion, and sensitivity to persons with disabilities and other minority populations.
  • Prior experience working in a mental health and/or harm reduction agency, preferably in community services preferred.
  • A good understanding of the issues facing persons with mental health challenges or substance use issues, particularly as related to meeting basic needs of food, clothing, shelter and advocacy. In particular, knowledge of the criminal justice system and how it impacts individuals with mental health challenges is valuable
  • Excellent communication, writing, and computer skills
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, sound knowledge of supportive counseling skills and the ability to form relationships with a diverse group of people
  • Ability to structure time, develop work priorities independently, and meet program expectations with regard to documenting interactions
  • Excellent independent problem solving skills and demonstrated ability to intuitively approach challenging situations
  • Knowledge of community resources for exiting incarceration, mental health and substance use
  • Valid driver’s license, a reliable personal vehicle available for work purposes and current automobile insurance required

Physical Requirements:

  • Regularly driving to visit individuals in geographic area. Visual acuity to operate a motor vehicle required.
  • Often meeting with persons in the community in inside or outside environments.
  • Extending and/or grasping with hand(s) and arm(s) in any direction at times when collecting paperwork, assisting with applications, completing hand-written forms, etc.
  • Ability to ascend and descend stairs occasionally required (in instances when businesses and/or meeting places do not have an elevator)
  • Regular operation of a laptop computer and other office machinery including frequent typing and extensive reading.
  • Frequent oral communication through spoken word for sharing of ideas and giving or receiving detailed information.


  • $18.45 – $20 per hour

To apply, please email a cover letter and resume to [email protected].