Small Sums’ programs represent a unique approach to social outreach. Our sole purpose is to help homeless individuals, who have found jobs, with the specific things that they need to start back to work. Through five different programs, we 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 during the first few months on the job. We also provide business planning and resources for the start up of small businesses (primarily independent contractors with contracts).
Clients are relieved, happy, and proud to show up on the first day of work outfitted in workwear that’s appropriate and required for their new jobs. Uniforms, scrubs, and sturdy black work pants are the most commonly required work clothes. We provide steel-toe boots and no-skid work shoes for clients in construction, warehousing, manufacturing, food service and healthcare.
Trade tools for construction workers, welders, barbers, beauticians, chefs are often mandatory in these professions; without them skilled homeless workers cannot get back into higher paying jobs. Because of their unstable living situations, clients have often lost their professional tools, so we provide the basics tools needed to start in their fields again.
Dependable transportation is a critical factor for maintaining employment. By providing monthly bus passes, Small Sums clients have a reliable way to get to work and it also allows them unlimited rides to take care of other important matters while they are getting back on their feet.
Professional testing fees and licenses and license renewals can often cost several hundred dollars and may be prohibitive for a homeless individual. We cover the test and license fees so that clients can return to work in the higher-paying fields in which they have been trained.
Applicants complete the online application detailing proposed business and experience in the field. If chosen, clients receive tuition for Plan It! Entrepreneur Training Class, a twelve-week program at the Neighborhood Development Center. With a completed viable business plan, select individuals are eligible for additional funding assistance with business start-up expenses.