Service Specialist


SAMU First Response is a global medical and social nonprofit organization that provides immediate humanitarian relief to vulnerable populations using a comprehensive and culturally competent approach. Grupo SAMU, our European branch, has over 40 years of experience successfully responding and delivering assistance to communities experiencing complex crises.


Given the migration crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, SAMU First Response is operating a 24/7 program designed to address the acute needs of asylum seekers and migrants passing through the DC area. SAMU works with local government and partner organizations to ensure that newcomers have access to comprehensive services, including food, clothing, hygiene facilities, transportation, medical/legal support, and short-term respite.


The Service Specialist is primarily responsible for providing newcomers with information, guidance, and referrals regarding resources and services that meet their needs in their destination community. The Service Specialist responds to the Service Coordinator.

  • Holding interviews to understand newcomers’ cases and assess needs (triage)
  • Completing or reviewing intake information and screenings to confirm the service needs & priorities.
  • Meeting with newcomers and other specialists or staff members to confirm plan and resources availability.
  • With the Service Coordinator, contacting local entities for any urgent/emergency needs while in the Respite Center(s), making referrals and linking newcomers to appropriate resources (verbally and in writing) to connect them to providers in the DVM or other destinations.
  • Providing orientations, including general life skills and U.S. 101 expectations for parents, and information on how to navigate community resources and local systems.
  • Organizing travel data and providing input to report on information about newcomers and new trends.
  • Connecting with sponsors to ensure that newcomers will be met upon arrival, while identifying and managing possible risk factors, human trafficking, and abuse concerns.
  • Coordinating information or emotional support sessions with Samu’s partners and/or authorities.
  • Scheduling medical appointments with health vendors (and accompaniment, if needed, for such services).
  • Providing newcomers with a brief orientation on how to use public/private transportation, and any relevant information on how to reach/mobilize within their destinations.
  • Ensuring that referrals and notes are entered in the databases efficiently and accurately.
  • Developing and maintaining an up-to-date database of resources in destination cities.
  • Identifying gaps/trends and providing recommendations to the Service Coordinator.
  • Maintain open communication with staff at other Samu centers, exchanging updated information and notes, and making recommendations on how to handle cases.
  • Coordinating with Service Coordinator to properly document information, upholding privacy and confidentiality.
  • Instructing or coordinating volunteers or other personnel, when necessary.
  • Making referrals and linking newcomers to appropriate resources or providers in the DMV or destination.
  • Developing an up-to-date database of resources in destination cities.
  • Distributing food, clothing, hygiene kits, info packets, and other supplies and/or information when needed.
  • Ensuring completion of Satisfaction Surveys and documenting other feedback, suggestions, incidents, and any other related information, as needed.
  • Identifying gaps/trends and providing recommendations to the direct Supervisor and the Deputy Director.
  • Maintaining accurate and up-to-date records on newcomers and items purchased, ensuring that documentation is properly filed in systems (physically and digitally).
  • Keeping track of expenses and transactions, consistent with protocols and procedures.
  • Communicating with newcomers and colleagues in a professional, respectful, and constructive manner.
  • Treating newcomers with excellent customer service skills, dignity, respect and upholding confidentiality.
  • Training other staff members and serving as a backup for other positions as needed.
  • Attending meetings and fairs as requested.


  • Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences, Psychology or relevant discipline and 3 years of relevant experience, or Masters and at least 1 year of relevant experience.
  • Fluency in English and Spanish and a third language (preferably Spanish, French, or Portuguese).
  • Prior experience working with asylum seekers, immigrants, refugees, or other vulnerable populations preferred.
  • Computer proficiency and data entry experience.
  • High level of attention to detail.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Must be authorized to work in the U.S. and able to pass background checks.
  • Must be vaccinated for COVID-19 and able to work in-person within the DMV area, with occasional travel/accompaniment to other locations in the region.
  • Able to thrive in a fast-paced, multicultural environment.
  • Flexibility to work in different settings and schedules.


  • Able to use Microsoft Word.
  • Use of repetitive motion, prolonged periods of sitting, and sustained visual and mental applications and demands.
  • Occasional lifting (up to 25 pounds), bending, pulling, and carrying.
  • Reasonable accommodation will be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Equal Opportunity employer: SAMU First Response is an Equal Employment Opportunity (“EEO”) Employer. SAMU does not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, gender, gender identity, pregnancy, marital status, partnership status, domestic violence victim status, sexual orientation, age, national origin, citizenship status, veteran or military status, disability, medical condition, genetic information, caregiver status, unemployment status or any other characteristic prohibited by federal, state and/or local laws.

Apply for this position

Allowed Type(s): .pdf, .doc, .docx