In today’s America where 99.99% of the news, local, state and national is filled with nothing but reports on violence, corruption, greed, selfishness and the bitter partisan politics that is ripping America apart. We hear about racial issues, sexual assaults, demands being made by LGBT activists and illegal aliens, demanding rights here in America that they neither earn nor deserve.
But every so often, we hear a feel-good story where someone or some organization did something kind for someone else.
Recently, there was the story of a man who received a new kidney as a result of his wearing a t-shirt at Disney World saying he needed a kidney. Someone took a photo of him in the shirt, posted it on Facebook and a man in another state called the phone number on the shirt and after finding out he was a match, donated a kidney, saving the life of the kidney recipient.
There are also stories of people or groups of people who help feed and clothe the homeless. This is great as it is supplying a real immediate need, especially during the cold winter months, but it’s only a temporary fix, not a more permanent one.
The city of Denver, however, has been doing something for the homeless that is having positive long-term results. City officials created the Denver Day Works program. According to Denver Human Services:
“The Denver Day Works Pilot Program is a supported work program designed to provide a low- to no-barrier work experience for people throughout the city who are experiencing homelessness, while also connecting participants to supportive services such as food, shelter, and other necessities.”
‘The initial pilot program (from Nov. 1, 2016, to Oct. 31, 2017) is funded through a partnership between Denver’s Road Home, Denver Public Works, Denver Parks & Recreation and Denver Human Services.”
So, how successful has this program been? Per Denver Human Services:
- “Nearly 284 people have had work opportunities during the program’s first year
- More than 10,000 hours of work and $109,000 in wages have been paid to participants involved in the program
- 110 participants have found permanent employment – 15 with the City and County of Denver. Other hiring partners include:
- Bayaud Enterprises
- Goodwill Industries
- Revolution Foods
- Hotel Teatro
- King Soopers
- NAPA Auto Parts
- Denver Zoo
- Denver Public Library”
Homeless applicants are screened and evaluated to determine their job skills, if any. They are given the option to work a full or half day shift. Those who don’t have any real job skills are connected to services that can help them. The contractor administering the program pays each worker at the end of their shift. They are also offered access to financial planners to help them manage their money with the goal of getting them off the streets.
As stated, 110 out of 284 homeless people ended up finding a permanent job. That’s a success rate of 38.7%, which may not sound very high, but consider the impact such a program could make if it were launched in every major city in the US. In today’s growing economy, in some areas, there are more jobs than employees and if the program can help fit 38% of their homeless to jobs, nationwide, that could help get thousands of people off the streets and providing for themselves and their families.
In many cases, all they need is a chance, but too few employers are willing to give them that chance because they are homeless. This program is giving them the chance and it seems to be working. Hooray for Denver for their good deed and setting an example for other cities.