The Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC) helps chronically homeless adults gain the skills they need in order to obtain and maintain employment, providing them with economic well-being, productivity and self-accomplishment.
Case managers and volunteers work with each client to address issues holding them back, like chronic homelessness, no high school diploma, mental illness, disability, and/or chemical dependency. DESC also works with employers within the community, such as Metropolitan Improvement District and Princess Tours, who are willing to work with and employ DESC clients, helping them achieve job longevity and success.
With support from the TMF in 2011, DESC has been able to take great strides in eliminating existing barriers that prevent homeless adults from securing and retaining livable wage jobs and stable, affordable housing. DESC was able to update the computer labs at the 216 Drop-In Center. Clients enrolled in their Connections program produced up-to-date resumes, cover letters, master applications and search for jobs online and master interview skills. Through the course of the grant, DESC helped more than 1400 clients.
The effects of Connections programming are noticeable, especially in clients like “Joe Smith.” When Joe arrived at Connections, he had recently lost his job and his unemployment compensation had quickly run out. Fortunately, he was a skilled welder and with a Connections focus, guidance and accessible computer lab, he was able to find work quickly. However, with most of his paychecks being spent on hotel stays, he lacked the ability to stabilize his housing situation. He returned to Connections, this time in search of financial guidance. He and his case manager created an action plan that included DESC’s free overnight shelter service, a monthly budget, savings account, and they set a date for when Joe could start looking for stable housing with his case manager. Within two months, and with only a couple of setbacks, Joe was a proud resident of his own apartment.
Case managers, volunteers and access to technology all made this process a bit smoother for Joe and many other folks with similar stories. For more information on this project, contact Jen Bliss.