Family Advocate Job Description/Guidelines
A major aspect of the duty of an Advocate is to relay correct and current information, give support and nurture the Partner Family. By nurture, we mean be a friend and a trusted partner to whom one can turn for guidance in becoming self-sufficient and independent.
The purpose of the Advocate is to act as a liaison between Habitat's leadership and the Partner Family, to provide guidance in fulfilling their responsibilities to Habitat and in mastering the skills of home ownership. This is about "DOING WITH" not "DOING FOR". Below is a sketch of what a Family Advocate does:
- Be aware of Habitat history and purpose.
- Be aware of local procedures, such as selection process and "Sweat Equity".
- Attend the same classes partner families do, when possible.
Contacting the Partner Family
- The first meeting should be at the Partner Family Orientation, or as soon as possible thereafter.
- Let the Partner Family know what your role is as an Advocate.
- Discuss with the Partner Family how you might be most helpful and identify areas that the Partner Family might need the most help.
- Meeting with the Partner Family will depend on the family's needs. Habitat recommends contact on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, and at the minimum once a month. Occasionally, you may have more frequent contact depending on the situation.
- Contact can be telephone, personal visit, letter or postcard, e-mail, scheduled meetings, dedications or any activities the Advocate and the Partner Family feel are appropriate forms of contact.
- After the Partner Family has moved into the new home, continue to follow-up with the family for 3 to 6 months, as needed.
- Help the Partner Family determine a schedule for completing Sweat Equity.
- Assist the Partner Family in finding a way to clear up outstanding debts.
- Assist in selecting items for the new home, i.e. flooring, siding, color selections, lighting, etc.
- Remind the Partner Family to change address information for voter registration, utilities, driver's license, friends, etc.
- Attend the Dedication Ceremony of the new home.
- Work with the family to identify problems that arise from oversights or construction issues within the new home. In these situations, you should notify the Habitat office.
- Remind the Partner Family that home maintenance is a Partner Family responsibility; not Habitat's responsibility.
- Encourage the Partner Family to stay involved with Habitat activities.