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Vendor Support Specialist

Position Description: 

Real Change Homeless Empowerment Project was founded in 1994 to offer immediate employment options for the poor and homeless and challenge the structures that create poverty. Real Change serves our vendors, those who sell the newspaper, and unsheltered folks through three integrated approaches:

Vendor Program: Real Change meets vendors where they are, providing immediate income and training. Additional opportunities include advanced sales trainings, elected vendor leadership positions, vendor internships, assistance with navigation and resource referral, access to the computer lab, and paid participation in the Homeless Speakers Bureau.

Real Change Newspaper: Real Change is North America’s leading street newspaper that provides work for about 800 homeless and low-income people annually, regularly wins awards for excellence, and focuses on issues of economic, social and racial justice.

Real Change Advocacy: Real Change leverages relationships between vendors and readers to increase opportunities for homeless and low-income people.

Vendor Support Specialist

The Vendor Support Specialist is a full–time (40 hours per week), Tuesday through Saturday, non-exempt position reporting to the Vendor Program Manager. Vendors are the independent contractors who purchase the newspaper and resell it, which creates their income. This position is responsible for supporting vendors by maintaining a safe, welcoming and productive environment. Vendors are at the core of the Real Change organization. Vendors are often homeless or unstably housed and struggle with poverty and oppression. Specifically this position supports vendors by assisting them in reaching their paper selling goals, helping navigate needed social services and supporting participation in agency events. This position requires attention to detail, a sense of humor, and the flexibility to be successful in an unstructured and constantly changing environment.

Primary roles and responsibilities:

Vendor Support (40%)
• Support vendors to build relationships, resolve conflicts, and offer coaching
• Create and maintain a safe environment
• Assist with facilitating monthly vendor meetings
• Sell papers to vendors at the sales desk when needed
• Occasional field outreach and support for vendors in the field
• Conduct orientations and sales training for new vendors when required

Program Support (30%)
• Coordinate vendor participation in Real Change events
• Participate in efforts to expand circulation under direction of manager
• Work collaboratively with other departments within Real Change
• Answer community and vendor questions via the phone and email
• Train sales desk volunteers as needed
• Enforce Authorized Vendor Guidelines and disciplinary consequences as needed
• Perform other tasks as assigned

Resource Navigation and Vendor Advocacy (20%)
• Provide regular drop-in resource navigation hours for vendors requesting support
• Outreach vulnerable vendors when needed under direction of manager
• Assist vendors in getting to appointments and following up on progress of self-identified goals
• Advocate on behalf of vendors to service providers, landlords and support networks
• Provide vendors with requested documentation as needed
• Coordinate the distribution of the Emerald City Resource Guide

Administrative and Documentation (10%)
• Maintain current records in Vendor Database and Internal Blog
• Participate in weekly vendor staff meetings

• Passionate commitment to social and economic justice and Real Change’s mission
• Two years of experience with homelessness or poverty (personal or professional)
• Experience navigating homeless support services
• Attention to detail
• Experience in conflict management and de-escalation
• Strong interpersonal and written communication skills
• Computer proficiency
• Proven experience in multi-tasking and meeting deadlines
• Flexibility necessary to be successful in an unstructured, busy, and sometimes loud workspace

Compensation: $38,500+ DOE. Excellent benefit package, including three weeks paid vacation, medical, dental and vision coverage, company funded retirement plan and a $600 annual professional development budget.

How to Apply: 

Send cover letter and résumé to Please write “Vendor Support Specialist” in the subject line. People of color and those with direct experience with poverty and/or homelessness are encouraged to apply. No phone calls please.