Help People on the Streets Find Work, Housing, and Support
There's no single path to homelessness. It's different for every person, every time. It often involves a thorny web of negative circumstances and conditions, including job-loss, family tragedy, illness, and/or addiction. But once it happens, it's a slippery slope down a twisting spiral and it's easy to lose hope. More than 80 percent of homeless individuals are unemployed and passed over by employers. People become stuck and isolated. Just as there is no single way in, there is no single way out of homelessness - a one-time intervention is rarely enough.
Bridge House in Boulder has identified an effective three-legged program for getting people out of homelessness once and for all. The program, called "Ready To Work," provides adults experiencing homelessness with three sustaining elements to flourish: paid work at a social enterprise, affordable housing, and ongoing support services. This "work-first" approach gives the power of opportunity to people who haven't had access to jobs. In the program, they work at two social enterprises, a landscaping company and a catering company, where they build a resume, skills, and self-confidence. Participants also receive affordable housing during the program. Finally, participants receive case management support and live alongside a caring community that guides them on their journey from the streets to a home with a job, and a stable path towards a better future.
Ready To Work's program achieves stunning results. At the end of 12 months, 100 percent of trainees remain sober and save 30 percent of their income or more (approximately $1,000). Upon graduating, 75 percent of Ready To Work trainees obtain mainstream employment and housing. Last year, 107 individuals participated in the program and 49 successfully graduated and 44 continue into 2018. It's a productive place! Over 46,000 hours were worked in landscaping and culinary arts training, generating $784,361 of earned revenue through Ready To Work's two social enterprises. Trainees saved a total of $25,000 in 2017 and more than 9 out of 10 graduates are still employed and housed six months after graduating. Bridge House recently opened their second Ready to Work program in Aurora, CO which has more than doubled their capacity and impact in metro-Denver!