Advocate for people experiencing homelessness - August 2023

Position Status




NHC Position Type

Capacity Builder

Position Summary

Second Avenue Commons is a place where those experiencing homelessness can find the help they need. A collaboration of five entities – Pittsburgh Mercy, UPMC, Allegheny County Department of Human Services, Community Kitchen Pittsburgh and Second Avenue Commons Inc. – have come together to serve those who are without permanent, stable housing. Here you will find 24/7 shelter access for adults and their partners, pets, possessions, as well as an engagement center, supportive case managers, and single-room occupancy apartments.

Our mission at the UPMC Second Avenue Commons Health Center is to provide comprehensive, compassionate, and trauma-informed care to help patients experiencing homelessness achieve their health goals and support their transition to stable housing. Services include treatment of acute and chronic medical diseases, wounds and injuries, foot care, substance use disorders (including buprenorphine/Suboxone prescribing), screening and treatment of STD and hepatitis C, gynecologic care, and behavioral health assessment and treatment. We focus on harm reduction while working to connect patients to long-term primary care and behavioral health providers.

The NHC member at UPMC’s Second Avenue Commons Health Center will serve in several ways to help expand the reach and effectiveness of our clinic. They will help to plan and facilitate group activities for residents in the shelter's engagement center.  They will provide navigation and accompaniment to vulnerable patients facing barriers to healthcare. They will work with local groups and organizations to facilitate volunteer engagement. The experience will be tailored to reflect the member's skills and interests. 

Major Duties and Responsibilities

  • Developing new program or services to address community needs
  • Strengthening volunteer recruitment and/or retention efforts
  • Developing and/or implementing volunteer management strategies
  • Developing/implementing surveys, focus groups, interview guides, observations, or other data collection tools to identify opportunities for improvement in service delivery

Characteristics of an Ideal Candidate

  • Team-oriented
  • Flexible
  • Comfort speaking with others, individually or in groups
  • Creative problem-solving skills
  • Compassionate
  • While we will never place you in an unsafe situation, member should be interested in working with people who have serious mental health issues, may be actively using drugs, may have limited hygiene, etc. We take a "harm reduction" approach which values every person and respects their autonomy - member should feel comfortable with this approach. The member will not be alone with patients during any street outreach. 

Knowledge Required for the Position

  • Knowledge of AmeriCorps/Health Corps member requirements
  • Skill with Microsoft Office or other software for a variety of data processing operations involving a range of problem solving, record keeping, correspondence, and service tracking options


  • Member uses initiative in carrying out recurring assignments following set procedures, independently
  • The supervisor assigns service activities in terms of project objectives and basic priorities and is available for consultation in resolving controversial issues.
  • The member will work directly with clinic staff everyday who can provide assistance as needed, but anticipate member will be fairly independent in carrying out their work. Clinic staff will identify patients for the member to help with navigation.


  • Completed projects are reviewed very generally to determine that objectives have been met and are in compliance with policies and regulations.


  • Guidelines are generally applicable, but the member independently makes adaptations in dealing with problems and unusual situations
  • Member must use considerable judgment in adapting current or developing new guidance
  • This is a brand-new shelter and clinic and the member will be helping to fill a new role, so we anticipate they will be helping to create processes and guidelines. 


  • The service position assignments vary significantly or often involve unusual circumstances and incomplete or conflicting data
  • The member must develop new techniques, methods, or approaches to complete service position assignments
  • Patient cases will each be unique and challenging. 

Criminal History Check Requirements Beyond NHC Standard Checks

In addition to NHC Standard Checks, all NHC Pittsburgh members are required to complete and pass criminal history checks for Great Lakes Behavioral Research Institute/Diversified Care Management (DCM). Great Lakes/DCM is a third party vendor contracted with the Allegheny County Health Department (operating site for NHC Pittsburgh) to distribute NHC Pittsburgh member stipends. NHC Pittsburgh members are onboarded to Great Lakes/DCM system only when the checks have been completed and the member has passed those checks.  Along with these checks, ALL NHC Pittsburgh Members Are Required to be Vaccinated against COVID-19. 

The checks that all NHC Pittsburgh members would be required to complete and pass for Great Lakes/DCM are the following: 1) Act 33 (Pennsylvania Child Abuse Clearance), 2) National Sex Offender Registry Clearance,  3) Act 34 (Pennsylvania Criminal History Clearance, and 4) Act 73 (FBI Criminal History Clearance - ONLY completed via Identogo PA).

NHC members do not have to pay for the completion of these checks. Great Lakes/DCM will distribute payment codes for the Act 33 (Pennsylvania Child Abuse Clearance) and Act 73 (FBI Criminal History Clearance which is conducted through Identogo PA ( PA FBI fingerprinting agency). The National Sex Offender Registry Clearance and Act 34 (Pennsylvania Criminal History Clearance) will be completed by Great Lakes/DCM upon receiving requested information that members will be asked to submit.