Today I had the privilege of visiting one of the Workforce Solutions offices to introduce Income Now, an initiative of The Way Home, to our career office staff. Income Now is a joint project between Workforce Solutions, the Coalition for the Homeless of Houston / Harris County, and 100+ housing, services and employment partner agencies to help people experiencing homelessness find jobs. This is another way that Workforce Solutions demonstrates their dedication to providing quality service to anyone needing assistance with employment, while being sensitive to areas that may provide a challenge to getting employment or keeping a job.
Upon completion of my introduction to Income Now, a visitor in the office – I’ll call him Sam – came up to me and was thrilled to know that there is now a program with Workforce Solutions to assist people experiencing homelessness with employment. I had never met Sam before and I was quite intrigued by his story.
Sam stated that he has been homeless twice in his life: once when he was sixteen, and again in his 50’s. He said that what had gotten him through both of his homeless episodes were people in his life who were able to mentor him and “walk” beside him to help him with training, employment, and housing. At sixteen Sam was still in high school and managed to stay in school and graduate even though he was not living with his family. He very often found himself sleeping at friends’ houses, school property, or basically any place he could find. Once Sam graduated he received job search assistance and was able to get a warehouse job, and years later through Workforce Solutions, training and employment in the Security Industry.
Sam was able to get married, have children, and live a comfortable life. After 28 years of marriage, Sam and his wife separated and he once again found himself homeless. At this time Sam was still working, but he did not have enough income from his job to afford housing. Sam was able to get assistance with temporary housing through a local agency, which helped him save enough money to get his own place as well as a vehicle. He is now successfully employed, living in his own place, and happy to share his success with others.
So why am I sharing Sam’s story with you? I wanted to share his story because it shows how great our community is in helping those experiencing homelessness with getting the assistance they need. Sam believes the ability to find work combined with his faith is what helped him achieve independence. He had other organizations assist him with housing, while Workforce Solutions helped him with improving his job skills and gave him referrals for jobs he was qualified for.
If you would like more information about assistance for housing and finding out more about the Income Now program, please go to http://www.homelesshouston.org. For assistance with employment, please visit a Workforce Solutions Office near you, or visit our website at http://www.wrksolutions.com.
Velta Worley is a member of the Regional Navigator Team specializing in training, educating, and assisting community partners, Workforce Solutions staff, and job seekers throughout the 13 county region with employment for people experiencing homelessness. She has over 8 years corporate management experience, with over 7 years with Workforce Solutions as a Facilitator, Technical Assistant, and Office Manager, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Sam Houston State University.