Community Engagement Specialist

New York, NY
Full Time
Harlem Community Justice Center
Entry Level

The Center for Court Innovation is committed to reducing crime and incarceration, addressing violence, supporting survivors, and building communities while strengthening public trust in justice. The Center seeks justice for marginalized groups, bringing an equity lens – particularly a racial and gender equity lens – to its work. For 25 years, the Center has worked to foster justice and equity to create safe, healthy, and thriving communities and, ultimately, to transform the justice system.

The Center is an 800-employee, $100 million nonprofit that accomplishes its vision through three pillars of work: creating and scaling operating programs to test new ideas and solve problems, performing original research to determine what works (and what doesn’t), and providing expert assistance and policy guidance to justice reformers around the world.

Operating Programs
The Center’s operating programs, including the award-winning Red Hook Community Justice Center and Midtown Community Court, test new ideas, solve difficult problems, and attempt to achieve systemic change within the justice system. Our projects include community-based violence prevention programs, alternatives to incarceration, reentry initiatives, and court-based initiatives that reduce the use of unnecessary incarceration and promote positive individual and family change. Through this programming, we have produced tangible results like safer streets, reduced incarceration, and improved neighborhood perceptions of justice.

Researchers at the Center conduct independent evaluations, documenting how government systems work, how neighborhoods function, and how reform efforts change things. We believe in the “action research” model; accordingly, our researchers provide regular feedback on the results of the Center’s own operating programs. The Center has published studies on topics including youth in the sex trade, reentry, gun violence, and drug treatment as an alternative to incarceration. Our researchers have been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals.

Policy & Expert Assistance
The Center provides hands-on, planning and implementation assistance to a wide range of jurisdictions in areas of reform such as problem-solving courts (e.g., community courts, treatment courts, domestic violence courts), tribal justice, reducing incarceration and the use of fines/fees and reducing crime and violence. Our current expert assistance takes many forms, including help with analyzing data, strategic planning and consultation, policy guidance, and hosting site visits to its operating programs in the New York City area.



The H.O.P.E (Heroin Overdose Prevention Education) program is a pre-arraignment diversion program that provides meaningful engagement between arrest and arraignment to individuals issued a Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT) for possession of a controlled substance.

The Harlem Housing Help Center seeks to address housing instability and empower tenants with knowledge of tenant rights, court procedures, and helps residents navigate the court system and gain access to needed resources. 

The Center for Court Innovation if offering a unique opportunity to support both of these programs. Reporting to the Program Manager, Bronx HOPE, the Community Engagement Specialist will participate in a special time-limited project with the HOPE team and NYPD, (approximately 6-9 months), while learning and providing outreach and engagement to community residents and connecting them to the services of the Help Center at the Harlem Community Justice Center. Upon completion of the HOPE project, this role will be transferred to the Harlem Housing Help Center full-time. 

Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

Project Hope (6-9 months):

  • Work with individuals who are arrested for controlled substance in Manhattan’s MTN and MTS precincts and motivate them to seek treatment, harm reduction and or recovery support services;
  • Work with the Peer Specialist team, Bronx HOPE to respond to NYPD dispatch calls;
  • Provide crisis intervention and support to program participants, as needed;
  • Work with the Peer Specialist team, Bronx HOPE to coordinate referrals and follow-up with participants as needed;
  • Coordinate and facilitate individual education that is responsive to the specific interests and needs of the individual, which may include a focus on treatment, harm reduction, and/or relapse prevention;
  •  Attend team meetings, supervision, trainings and perform other administrative duties, as needed;
  • Accurately and efficiently document client interactions;
  • Complete additional relevant tasks, as needed.

Harlem Housing Help Center:

  • Work with Housing Navigators to inform and engage with community members about the Housing Help Center;
  • Assist housing court litigants to understand, file and respond to housing court cases in partnership with court’s clerk’s office and legal services;
  • Assist community members with appointment booking with the onsite NYC Human Resource Administration, legal providers and other services;
  • Assist tenants and the housing court with coordination of court ordered access date follow up;
  • Participate in community outreach to promote the Housing Help Center and Harlem Community Justice Center, providing information on tenants’ rights and responsibilities and relevant available programs and resources;
  • Represent the Harlem Community Justice Center at tenant association and community meetings, as needed;
  • Keep detailed case notes in case management system and ensure high quality tracking of all Help Center client work;
  • Assist with the facilitation of community workshops and trainings on housing and civil justice topics in collaboration with legal service providers and advocacy organizations, as needed;
  • Attend all required staff meetings and trainings;
  • Complete additional relevant tasks, as needed.

Upon completion of Project HOPE, additional responsibilities for the Housing Help Center include:

  • Attend housing court proceedings to facilitate problem-solving justice and access to Help Center services on rent, repairs and holdover cases; 
  • Respond to repair hazards through documenting violations, communicating access dates, and facilitating compliance with court orders in coordination with landlords, tenants and the court;  
  • Cultivate neighborhood partnerships to ensure meaningful referrals to Help Center services;
  • Champion eviction prevention strategies, including but not limited to lease recertifications, tenant grievances, rental assistance applications, court attendance, education on affordability rules, financial empowerment, conflict resolution, etc;
  • Assist the Project Manager and Help Desk Coordinator with training and managing day to day tasks of AmeriCorps members and interns;
  • Assist with the planning and execution of the Help Center and Justice Center community events, outreach and court services.

Qualifications:  The ideal candidate will have a high school diploma (Associates degree prefered) and at least two years of experience with human services in community organizing and/or related housing experience. Relevant experience may include internships, volunteer positions, peer advocate training programs, community leadership positions, and/or participation in community groups such as tenants’ associations. Additional qualifications include:

  • A background of lived or work experience in the criminal legal system, housing system, substance use/behavioral health systems 
  • Knowledge of city agency- and community-based resources and service providers a plus. 
  • Willingness to work non-traditional hours, including evenings and weekends. 
  • The ideal candidate will be a self- directed, dynamic facilitator who feels comfortable working with a wide range of people, and experience with housing advocacy, organizing and/or court.
  • Must show a demonstrated interest and ability to integrate equitable practices in court and community spaces;
  • Must be able to work with a diverse population in a mutually respectful manner, using a strengths-based approach;
  • Must be able to articulate a commitment to racial equity and how they integrate practices into their work;
  • Bilingual (English-Spanish) strongly preferred.

Position Type:  Full-Time, in-person. Candidates must be available to work in multiple locations including Midtown Manhattan, Harlem, and the Bronx. This position requires a specific schedule for the duration of the HOPE special project (6-9 months):

  • Tuesday 9am-5pm (Harlem)
  • Wednesday 9am-5pm (Midtown or Bronx, as needed)
  • Thursday through Saturday 4pm-12am (Midtown)

Compensation:  The role is hourly, non-exempt. The hourly rate is $24.40 per hour and is commensurate with experience. Center for Court Innovation offers an excellent benefits package including comprehensive health, free basic dental coverage, vision insurance, short-term and long term disability, and life insurance. All healthcare benefits are effective on the date of hire. Paid time off includes 20 days of paid vacation per year, 15 paid sick days, Flexible Spending Account plans for health and dependent care, commuter FSA and offers a 10% employer match on the 403(b) retirement plan.

The Center for Court Innovation is an equal opportunity employer. The Center does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, national origin, age, military service eligibility, veteran status, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, or any other category protected by law. We strongly encourage and seek applications from women, people of color, members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities as well as individuals with prior contact with the criminal justice system.

As of September 9, 2021, all new hires are required to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, unless they have been granted a reasonable accommodation for medical, disability or religious reasons by the Center’s Human Resources Department.

In compliance with federal law, all persons hired will be required to verify identity and eligibility to work in the United States and to complete an employment eligibility verification document form upon hire. Only applicants under consideration will be contacted. No phone calls please.


Apply for this position

Apply with Indeed
We've received your resume. Click here to update it.
Attach resume as .pdf, .doc, .docx, .odt, .txt, or .rtf (limit 5MB) or Paste resume

Paste your resume here or Attach resume file

To comply with government Equal Employment Opportunity and/or Affirmative Action reporting regulations, we are requesting (but NOT requiring) that you enter this personal data. This information will not be used in connection with any employment decisions, and will be used solely as permitted by state and federal law. Your voluntary cooperation would be appreciated. Learn more.

Invitation for Job Applicants to Self-Identify as a U.S. Veteran
  • A “disabled veteran” is one of the following:
    • a veteran of the U.S. military, ground, naval or air service who is entitled to compensation (or who but for the receipt of military retired pay would be entitled to compensation) under laws administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs; or
    • a person who was discharged or released from active duty because of a service-connected disability.
  • A “recently separated veteran” means any veteran during the three-year period beginning on the date of such veteran's discharge or release from active duty in the U.S. military, ground, naval, or air service.
  • An “active duty wartime or campaign badge veteran” means a veteran who served on active duty in the U.S. military, ground, naval or air service during a war, or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized under the laws administered by the Department of Defense.
  • An “Armed forces service medal veteran” means a veteran who, while serving on active duty in the U.S. military, ground, naval or air service, participated in a United States military operation for which an Armed Forces service medal was awarded pursuant to Executive Order 12985.
Veteran status

Voluntary Self-Identification of Disability
Voluntary Self-Identification of Disability Form CC-305
OMB Control Number 1250-0005
Expires 5/31/2023
Why are you being asked to complete this form?

We are a federal contractor or subcontractor required by law to provide equal employment opportunity to qualified people with disabilities. We are also required to measure our progress toward having at least 7% of our workforce be individuals with disabilities. To do this, we must ask applicants and employees if they have a disability or have ever had a disability. Because a person may become disabled at any time, we ask all of our employees to update their information at least every five years.

Identifying yourself as an individual with a disability is voluntary, and we hope that you will choose to do so. Your answer will be maintained confidentially and not be seen by selecting officials or anyone else involved in making personnel decisions. Completing the form will not negatively impact you in any way, regardless of whether you have self-identified in the past. For more information about this form or the equal employment obligations of federal contractors under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) website at

How do you know if you have a disability?

You are considered to have a disability if you have a physical or mental impairment or medical condition that substantially limits a major life activity, or if you have a history or record of such an impairment or medical condition. Disabilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Autism
  • Autoimmune disorder, for example, lupus, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, or HIV/AIDS
  • Blind or low vision
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular or heart disease
  • Celiac disease
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Deaf or hard of hearing
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Gastrointestinal disorders, for example, Crohn's Disease, or irritable bowel syndrome
  • Intellectual disability
  • Missing limbs or partially missing limbs
  • Nervous system condition for example, migraine headaches, Parkinson's disease, or Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Psychiatric condition, for example, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, PTSD, or major depression
Please check one of the boxes below:

PUBLIC BURDEN STATEMENT: According to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 no persons are required to respond to a collection of information unless such collection displays a valid OMB control number. This survey should take about 5 minutes to complete.

You must enter your name and date