UPLIFT! Homeless to Work Program
In Keeping with our core values of sustainablity, community partnerships, and using our resources to help lift people out of poverty and homelessness, His Urban Presence is proud to announce UPLIFT!. UPLIFT! is not just another employment program, it is a systematic shift in how we think about those experiencing homelessness and work. We believe that work itself is empowering, giving a person the ability to meet their own needs or to resolve a problem for themselves makes them feel capable and increases their future confidence. We believe that this empowerment should be available to everyone, regardless of their age, social status, criminal history, or disabling conditions.Our goal is to begin with one crew of eight people as soon as we reach our contract-hours goal, and put them to work immediately. Participants will meet Tuesday through Thursday at a prearranged locationand be picked up in our van. They will be provided a sack lunch, have access to water and a porta-potty (on trailer behind van), and will be provided all safety equipment. At the end of each day, the participants will be paid cash($10/hour) for the hours worked and given the opportunity to meet with case managers and work on individual employment/employability goals.
UPLIFT! will combine low barrier work opportunities with dynamic relationship building and employment focused case management to help move people from unemployment to whatever level of sustainable independence they are able to achieve. Low barrier work opportunities are extremely important, since many of our clients lack basic identification doccuments, have few marketable skills, commonly have criminal convictions, and may be working through addiction or mental illness. UPLIFT! will focus on neighborhood and community clean up work helping to beautify our community while giving low skill, low barier work opportuities to those who need it the most. Not every client will become full time employed, and not evey client is capable of being fully independent. Our riggerous employment based case management, will allow us to identify barriers to employability, set goals to overcome those barriers, and to build relationships and make referrals to other agencies within our community when necessary.
Low Barrier Opportunities
When working with people who are homeless, particularly those who have been homeless for some length of time, it is important to set barriers to service as close to zero as possible. Lost or stolen property, moving from place to place, and being disassociated from family are often contributing factors to individuals who have no legal form of identification. Without proof of residency, birth certificate, or social security cards, getting a state issued drivers license or identification card is nearly impossible. Additionally, criminal convictions, addictive behaviours, and mental illness are higher among individuals experiencing homelessness. For these reasons, UPLIFT! will seek to put to work any willing person with only their name and social security number and not requiring physical proof thereof before working. These barriers can be worked through in the case management process, but we feel putting people to work if they are willing is the most important aspect of any program like this.
Dynamic Relationship Model
In the same way that the causes for homelessness vary widely, the individual barriers faced by each person will also vary widely. Many programs take a one-size-fits-all approach, that treats everyone pretty much the same and fails to address the individual needs, desires, and difficulties of the client. UPLIFT! case management will start with an individual assessment. The individual will be asked what their long and short term employment goals are(not everyone wants or is able to work full time), what barriers they feel are keeping them from being employed, and what they consider to be their biggest need in the area of employment/employability. Using this individual input, case managers will work to set up a plan or series of goals intended to move the person closer to their goals and toward UPLIFT!'s goal of a sustainable level of independence. Throughout the program, case managers will work maintaian relationships with each participant and periodically revisit and update these goals as needed.
Employment Focused Case Management
Persons in the UPLIFT! program will work Tuesday - Thursday, from 8am to 3pm. At the end of each working day, they will return to the UPLIFT! day center where they will meet with a case manager. If it is their first time, they will take an individual assessment and set goals with their case manager. Participants will also establish a savings account to which they will contribute a small percentage of their income each day worked as a condition of continued participation. The money from this savings account will be used to pay for identification, travel to job interviews, and whatever other expenses may be necessary to meet the individual's employment/employability goals. Once a person has been assessed, each subsequent day, the participants will have a brief meeting with their case manager to follow up on goals, and will be provided with access to a computer lab to fill out applications, resume writing and job interview skills training, and whatever additional assistance the case manager and individual plans call for. Working in partnership with other organizations, UPLIFT! can also make referrals to other resources, such as supported employment services or vocational rehabilitation for individuals with disabling conditions.
The only way that a program like UPLIFT! can work is with the support of the community. Pretty much everyone can recognize the issues posed by the large number of individuals experiencing homelessness who are panhandling or asking for money at intersections all over town. If you spend much time driving around the community of Colorado Springs, you will also notice that many roadsides, lots, and intersections are littered with trash. Trash left by passers by, thrown out of cars, and even left by homeless individuals. What if we could do something about these problems? What if making our communities cleaner, better places to live and helping those who are experiencing homelessness could be accomplished at the same time? UPLIFT! seeks to do just that!! Businesses or churches who have large properties that need periodic cleanup and removal of trash can contribute. Have a business near an intersection that really needs to be cleaned up every week or two, you or your business can sponsor that intersection for cleanup. Have a neighborhood association that is tired of having to pass trash on a major street or highway nearby, or a neighborhood park that is not getting the cleanup it needs due to budget cuts, you or your organization could sponsor that area for cleanup.
How Does UPLIFT! Work?
Businesses, Churches, Community Organizations, Individuals, and even Government Agencies, decide that they want to improve their community and help those experiencing homelessness. Once an group or organization identified either their own property, or a property that they would like to sponsor, these groups come to UPLIFT! and contract us to bring our work crew to that location either once a week, once every two weeks, or once a month. and we come collect and remove trash. Our crews are responsibly superviesd and fully self contained so we won't bother your customers or regular users and once all the trash is collected , we move on to the next site. For every eighteen(18) hours of weekly contract work we recieve we can put a crew of 8 people to work three days a week and help those individuals move away from homeless and towards sustainable independence. Please help us to make UPLIFT! a reality and improve the lives of everyone in our community by sponsoring an hour or sharing this information with interested organizations you know.
USE THE FORM BELOW TO CONTACT US ABOUT THE UPLIFT! PROGRAM