We believe that given the right tools, opportunities, and guidance, homeless individuals can find living wage employment, and through living wage employment, they will find a place to call home. Our programs represent a unique approach to social outreach. Because we remove specific employment obstacles, the assistance provided by Small Sums helps to empower our clients and move them toward financial independence.
Small Sums’ sole purpose is to help homeless individuals, who have found jobs, with the specific things that they need to start back to work. With practical and timely assistance, that few other agencies provide, we remove obstacles that prevent homeless workers from being able to take a job. We often provide our clients assistance with things like required work clothes and shoes, trade tools, professional licenses or union dues, and bus passes so they have a reliable way to get to work everyday until they receive a paycheck.
We partner with referring organizations that serve the poor and homeless to provide these simple things, (with an average item-cost of less than $200 per worker), often within 24-72 hours from their application, so that our clients are able to accept the job and start working within days of the job offer. This is one of the most important steps to getting out of their homeless situation.
We believe that by collaborating with other organizations, we enhance the support provided to our clients during the important time of starting a new job and putting together a more stable life. By working with other organizations, each provides a different, and valuable, type of support for clients as they begin their journey out of homelessness.
The Power of Relationships
Our efforts produce good results. We start with success because 93% of our homeless clients have found verifiable jobs when they come to us, which is a testament to their resilience and determination in their daunting circumstances. Once a year, we reach out to clients that we have assisted in the prior to track their housing and employment progress. We are able to reach approximately one-third of our direct clients.
In 2015, we completed the Client Follow-up Project for 2014 clients. 57% are now in stable housing (no longer homeless!) AND still employed. Of those with wage information (50%), average starting wage was $10.99 at the time of assistance and at follow-up, it rose to $12.42.
It’s a surprisingly simple solution that is practical and economical and it fosters the important role of self-sufficiency in helping our clients get into places of their own. Our clients want to work, and our program is committed to supporting their resiliency and efforts. Small Sums gives homeless workers the ability to say “yes” to a job and put them back on the path to a more stable life and being productive community members and taxpayers again.
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