Philosophy of Outreach
For 7 years, we worked directly with people living on Skid Row to learn about the issue of homelessness and the ways we could help alleviate the hardship of our friends living there. Like any community of people, those living on Skid Row are not all the same, and are often unfairly simplified and stigmatized by the public. There are many factors that contribute to someone becoming homeless, and there are many factors that prevent someone who is homeless from getting off of the streets. During our time on Skid Row, we saw many people graduate from rehabilitation, only to return to the streets. Without permanent housing and without a supportive community away from the streets, it is extremely difficult for someone to transition from being homeless to securing employment and working full time.
Along with our partner the Downtown Women's Center (www.downtownwomenscenter.org), we believe in the Housing First Model. Housing First is the idea that someone who is homeless will be much more likely to make drastic changes in their life if they begin those changes with permanent housing (rather than the other way around). In light of this, we act as an employment partner with the Downtown Women's Center. The DWC specializes in providing women who are coming off of living on the streets with permanent supportive housing without time limits. These women are also given varying levels of job training to prepare them for future employment. This is where we come in.
We offer employment opportunities (hourly wages) to women who have gotten permanent housing, but can only continue to secure that housing through employment. Our employees do not simply work here, they belong here. We care for their well-being in and out of the workplace, and are considerate of their individual needs. We include our employees in all aspects of the organization to ensure that they receive holistic training and experience. And we provide opportunities for our employees to further their education or pursue career goals in-house. In short, we believe in bringing a sense of community to business and not simply (nor naively) expecting businesses to benefit their communities.