Working to Solve Homelessness
In December 2012, I came across an article by Will Harlan, Editor of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine, profiling homelessness in Asheville, N.C. Contrary to most perceptions, the individuals he encountered in shelters were willing, able and actively looking for employment, but with no home address to place on their applications most were struggling to get an opportunity to interview.
As an owner and operator of a property management company, I knew there was something my industry could offer these individuals and families that most couldn’t-employment AND housing. In 2014, we created Shelters to Shutters (S2S) to pair property management companies with individuals experiencing homelessness who are ready to work. It’s a non-profit organization that offers a pathway for economic independence and self-sufficiency. At the same time the program provides property management companies with a solution for finding pre-screened, job-trained candidates for their open entry-level positions.
One of the first steps in making this program successful was educating myself and my employees on what homelessness truly looks like and who the program participants would be. We learned that chronic homelessness is defined as involving either long-term or repeated bouts of homelessness coupled with disability (physical or mental). It is a common misconception that this group represents the majority of the homeless population. Rather, they account for less than 15 percent of the entire homeless population on a given day.
CONTINUE READING HERE: Units Magazine