Homeless Initiative Program's Choices for Change: Made possible by the Fairbanks Foundation
Since 2005, the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation has been supporting HealthNet’s Homeless Initiative’s Choices for Change Workforce Development Program. To date, they have contributed a total of $601,962 towards this program that assists individuals in obtaining and sustaining employment at a livable wage level.
The Choices for Change program consists of a Skills that Work Workshop, structured job search, job placement and retention services. In addition, this program helps by offering financial literacy workshops, working with clients to create household budgets, and assisting them with finding permanent housing. HIP has also partnered with several local short-term training programs that provide an extra boost to enhance some clients’ work skills before seeking employment. Some of these partnerships include Commercial Drivers Training, Certified Nursing Assistant credentials, and Indiana Safety Professional LLC to train participants in the logistics/warehouse industry.
Financial literacy is a required component and helps clients who are moving into housing to create a budget, establish bank accounts, and overcome past credit issues. Our case managers and housing specialists work with our Choices for Change participants to identify, secure, maintain and retain safe, affordable housing based on the household budget they created. These initiatives are supported by our Rent Smart and Skills that Work workshops.
Last year, 67 formerly homeless individuals were able to secure employment and 34 of those individuals retained that employment for at least one year. In addition, we were able to secure 6 NEW employer partnerships!
This program is essential because it goes beyond just placing people in housing. It addresses the financial and employment issues that have played a part in the individual becoming homeless in the first place. By helping clients develop life skills and financial education, and by providing them with training opportunities necessary to succeed at a p7/articular job, we are giving them the motivation and foundation they need to move forward into self-sufficiency.
We would like to thank the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation for their continued support of this program!