71% Employment Rate for Homeless Individuals!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

 As the economy and employment in the Portland metro area continue to recover slowly from the recession, there is a bright spot. A recent Portland State Study of Central City Concern’s Supported Employment program found that over a two year period, 71% of enrollees found employment. Equally surprising is the population of the study:

100% were homeless upon entry into the program, 100% were battling addiction to drugs or alcohol and the majority had felony convictions.

“The Supported Employment program achieved stunning success with a group of more than 200 people who many would regard as unemployable,” said Central City Concern (CCC) Executive Director Ed Blackburn.

“What’s great about the Central City Concern employment program is that they do the leg work for the employer. They have screened and trained their clients and know a lot about the individual,” said Minoosh. 
 “In my experience, I have found the placements from CCC have a good attitude, and are very loyal, hard working individuals, like Hakeem, who has been a great addition to our team.”

Hakeem has been working in the Courtyard by Marriott/The Original restaurant for nearly a year. He recently moved out of CCC housing into his own apartment, has reconnected with his children and is considering a number of educational opportunities for further his skills. Reflecting on the value of the CCC Supported Employment program Hakeem said, “I spend my time wisely now. I like my job and have peace within me.”

Minoosh said she wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the CCC Supported Employment program to other businesses. “We’re all one community,” said Minoosh, “and the more connected individuals feel to programs like those at CCC, to their families and to their employers, the more successful they will be. And that’s good for business.”

Other study highlights include:
• 53% of employed participants worked full-time; 28% worked 21-31 hours/week
• Average wage was $9.96, 14% greater than Oregon’s minimum wage
• 72% of participants completed outpatient treatment
• 77% were still employed after their participation in the program ended.

Click here for the complete study.  The study has also recently been featured on a national website regarding homelessness – the Homeless Resource Center administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services.