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JOB OPENING: Community Engagement Specialist, Housing Network of RI

About the Housing Network of Rhode Island
The Housing Network of Rhode Island (HNRI) is the State’s membership organization for non-profit agencies that are committed to the development of affordable housing and vital communities across Rhode Island. HNRI is committed to strengthening its affordable housing member organizations and the larger affordable housing and community development sectors. HNRI pursues this commitment by convening members and allied organizations to secure and share resources, identify and pursue opportunities and learn from one another; building capacity amongst our member organizations to address their technical and organizational needs; advocating for policies and programs to further the development and preservation of affordable housing and the economic development of our neighborhoods; and championing efforts to expand the State’s supply of affordable housing.

Housing Opportunities Initiative Overview

The Housing Opportunities Initiative (HOI) is a cross-sector coalition of partners that is seeking to transform the state’s under-resourced affordable housing system and create a common agenda to increase the supply of safe, healthy and affordable housing throughout Rhode Island, equitably reducing the housing cost burden for low and moderate income residents over the next decade. Partners are approaching this challenge through concentrated work efforts in four key areas: increasing community engagement in affordable housing issues, reducing high development costs, increasing investment and building capacity in the affordable housing “system”, and making existing homes safer, healthier, and more affordable to maintain.

The HOI employs a collective impact approach in addressing the state’s affordable housing challenge. Collective impact initiatives are characterized by building a common agenda, establishing a system of shared measurement, fostering mutually reinforcing activities, encouraging continuous communication and supported by a strong “backbone” organization. Collective impact principles include a commitment to equity, inclusion, building relationships based on mutual trust and respect, and cultivating leadership skills.

Position Description Overview
The Housing Network of Rhode Island is seeking a dynamic and passionate individual to develop and implement a robust community engagement strategy that is focused on building a grassroots network of residents and leaders who are committed to increasing affordable housing opportunities for low and moderate-income Rhode Islanders and coordinate communications and messaging activities across partners.

Working closely with HNRI staff and partners, the Community Engagement Specialist will build on key recommendations from the HOI Community and Political Engagement Strategy Team, encompassing the following: increasing the public’s understanding of Rhode Island’s lack of affordable housing and the impact this has on our communities’ wellbeing, education, health, and economic development; educating community members about the issues of homelessness and affordable housing; and supporting the communications infrastructure of Housing Opportunities Initiative cross-sector coalition.

Responsibilities:

  • With support from HNRI Director, HOI Manager, consultants, and current partners, provide capacity and help build the infrastructure for coordinated messaging among homeless service providers, CDCs and nonprofit developers, housing advocates, and other system actors.
  • Build on existing relationships and cultivate new partnerships to establish an assets-based, grassroots network that supports community ownership of the issues of homelessness and affordable housing through one-on-one meetings, outreach, and networking.
  • Work with partner organizations to ensure alignment of HOI community engagement strategy with allied organizational efforts and campaigns through various forms of information-sharing.
  • Support opportunities for partnership and collaboration among homeless service providers and housing development organizations.
  • Ensure the effective and meaningful inclusion of constituents most directly affected by lack of affordable housing in engagement efforts, including refugees, low-income tenants, low-income seniors, individuals with disabilities, people of color, and residents who are housing cost-burdened.
  • Conduct outreach to orient and engage new residents, partners, and other stakeholders to the issue.
  • Design and facilitate presentations, information sessions, and community meetings to educate and engage residents and other stakeholders in the Housing Opportunities Initiative.
  • Utilize data from local polls, surveys and focus groups and incorporate resident and stakeholder feedback to appropriately tailor messaging to specific communities / constituents.
  • Identify and support the growth of resident leaders through training, skill-sharing, and one-on-one meetings.
  • Engage community members and other partners using a variety of communications tools with attention to accessibility, including social media, newsletters, and face-to-face opportunities for interaction.
  • In consultation with HNRI staff and consultants, HOI partners and allied organizations, design strategy for a resident empowerment and training program to promote and grow leadership among those directly impacted by the issue.
  • Create and disseminate educational materials related to the goals of the HOI
  • Represent the Housing Opportunities Initiative in the community and at various meetings and events.

Required Knowledge, Skills, and Qualities:

  • Education / experience equivalent to a four-year degree from a college or university
  • Demonstrated experience engaging with diverse groups with ability to gain trust and spark interest
  • Excellent written and oral communications skills
  • Superior interpersonal skills including the ability to negotiate conflicts or disagreements, active listening and reflecting, ability to connect and collaborate with others
  • Culturally sensitive and committed to principles of equity and inclusion of marginalized groups
  • Commitment to social justice and strong interest in ensuring safe, healthy and affordable housing for all
  • Understanding or interest in basic functions and aspects of government and political process
  • Willingness to accept feedback and to incorporate new research, findings, and best practices into work
  • Ability and willingness to travel throughout the State of Rhode Island (must have access to reliable transportation)

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, Marketing, Community Development, Political Science or a related field
  • 1-2 years of experience in communications, journalism, or public relations work, including marketing and messaging strategy development, working with various forms of print and social media, event planning support
  • Experience working on issues of homelessness, affordable housing, or community / economic development
  • Understanding and familiarity with Rhode Island and its unique and distinct communities
  • Bilingual / bi-literate in English and Spanish

Salary: $37,000 – 42,000 annually. Benefits included. Position is full time, 40 hours a week.

To Apply:
Please e-mail a resume and a cover letter explaining interest in the position and qualifications to Ms. Melina Lodge at HR@housingnetworkri.org. Please include the position title in the subject heading of your e-mail.



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