The job description of a housing specialist can vary, because this job title refers to a number of different positions. One is as an adviser to a municipality concerned with healthy, sustainable development and housing issues. Another is as a person who assists people with relocations for work or school. Furthermore, a housing specialist can also work in social services, connecting low income people with housing services they can benefit from, including subsidized housing and affordable housing in their communities.
In the first sense, the housing specialist works with city planners and housing agencies to develop a policy for development and housing matters. This person can be consulted during the planning phases of developments and works on establishing safe, affordable housing for all residents of the community. A degree in a field like urban planning or social work may be needed. Some housing specialists belong to professional organizations of people interested in city planning. The work requires familiarity with the needs of the community, as well as experience in the field of shaping residential developments.
A relocation housing specialist helps people find housing in a new city and may provide a range of services. This can include making arrangements for a moving crew, signing up children in school, helping families find new service providers like doctors, lawyers, gardeners, and so forth, and providing an orientation to the new community so people know how to get around. The housing specialist can also work on things like applying for parking permits and helping people find gyms and other clubs to join.
Social workers in the housing field meet with people who have housing issues, including landlord-tenant disputes or the need for new housing. They provide advice and information, along with referrals to community service organizations providing services like legal help or gifts of furnishings to people who need help setting up a household. The housing specialist is familiar with housing assistance programs and their requirements and can connect people quickly with helpful services.
These three very different jobs all relate to housing, but in different ways. Having good people skills and a familiarity with a community is a knowledge for all three. In the case of people working in public service, degrees may be recommended or required, and people will make more money if they have more qualifications. Relocation specialists do not need college degrees to work, but may find it helpful to have a network of community connections so they can serve their clients most effectively.