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Service Coordinator BASICS: Advocacy

By: Rae Suber-Johnson

The Five Core Services – Service Coordinators provide residents and community members with a variety of services tailored to the needs of the individuals, sites and communities we serve. Within that broad framework, however, five core services comprise the bulk of the work performed by productive and effective SCs. They are: advocacy, information and referral, independent living skills, peer support and mentoring,

and transition.

The first core service is :

ADVOCACY – At least three types of advocacy interventions are acknowledged in Service Coordination: Coaching residents in the skills of self-advocacy is a valuable intervention that not only provides residents with a tangible benefit but helps residents to better understand their rights and responsibilities under contractual arrangements, such as their lease. Self-Advocacy coaching can include review of documents including …

  • Leases

  • any lease attachments (i.e., Community Rules)

  • HUD;s “Resident Rights and Responsibilities” handbook

  • entitlement programs, such as SSI, Medicare, SNAP, etc…

  • proposed local, state or federal legislation that could affect the residents or community

Skills-building in the area of Advocacy can include identifying issues, developing talking points, public speaking, persuasive writing, etc... While SCs may not be able to provide direct training in all the skills needed, we can utilize our community networks to identify resources and refer residents to appropriate providers.

  1. Legislative Advocacy includes SC interventions that “speak out” to local, state and/or federal representatives and agencies in regard to issues that affect residents and the community, via letter, email, voice-mail, community forums, hearings, etc… Legislative advocacy can also include providing information describing the possible impact of proposed legislative changes directly to legislative representatives. These interventions could also be recorded in AASCOnline in the “SC Daily Log” section under Community Engagement.

  2. Advocacy interventions performed by SC’s on behalf of a resident with Property Management or Community-Based Agencies can lead to the provision of valuable services, or the cessation of negative attention, to residents. This type of advocacy effort is extremely personalized to the resident’s needs and situation, requiring SC’s to collaborate closely with residents to understand and clearly represent their interests to others.

Overall, advocacy interventions are persuasive activities that highlight an SC’s enhanced understanding of the needs of individuals, groups and the community while the SC utilizes their specialized role to gain the attention of persons and organizations who affect the resident’s life.



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