The Opening Doors Collaborative Aims to Increase Employment & Economic Opportunity Among Homeless Youth
By Caitlin C. Schnur, Coordinator, National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity with Leiha Edmonds, Research and Policy Assistant, National Initiatives
Earlier this year, under our new National Center on Employment and Homelessness (NCEH) and with the generous support of the Oak Foundation and the Melville Charitable Trust, we selected five communities from across the country to be a part of the Connections Project. The Connections Project is a three-year, systems-level collaboration and capacity building project that aims to increase employment and economic opportunity for homeless job seekers. This fall, our five Connections Project Sites are launching their innovative systems collaboration ideas—and over the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting their exciting work. First up is Minneapolis/Hennepin County’s Opening Doors Collaborative (ODC), our Connections Project Site that’s focused on improving employment access, outcomes, and program options for youth experiencing homelessness.
By Jeanne E. Murray, Research and Policy Assistant, National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity
This Mother’s Day, we want to recognize incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women with children. Women represent the fastest growing population in prison. Over the last 30 years, the female prison population has grown by over 800 percent, and more than 60 percent of women prisoners are parents to children under age 18. Incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women are likely to have low educational attainment and experience mental health or substance use issues, and many are survivors of domestic violence. These barriers, combined with long gaps in work history and the stigma of a criminal record, can make it difficult for formerly incarcerated women to find and keep jobs once they’re back home. To help these women stay out of prison and successfully reenter their communities, it’s critical that employment services be a part of the programming that formerly incarcerated women receive.
Ardella’s House in Philadelphia aims to reduce recidivism by helping women successfully transition back into their communities. Ardella’s House provides women support and guidance along with addressing their career placement and vocational and educational training needs. This month, the National Initiatives team spoke with Tonie Willis, the Director of Ardella’s House, to discuss the important issues facing women who are incarcerated or formerly incarcerated—including getting and keeping jobs.
By Caitlin C. Schnur, Coordinator, National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity and David Applegate, Research and Policy Assistant, National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity
April is Financial Literacy Month, and we believe that every person deserves the opportunity to save and build wealth across their lifetime—including people experiencing homelessness. The most recent data show that 44% of households in the United States—and 80 percent of the poorest households—are liquid asset poor, meaning they have less than three months’ worth of savings. It’s safe to assume that people experiencing or at high risk of homelessness fall into this category and face significant challenges to building savings and wealth. In addition to connecting homeless jobseekers to employment, workforce development programs can foster their clients’ long-term economic success by integrating financial literacy and asset building into their services. Wondering how? Here are five strategies to help people experiencing homelessness meet their short term economic needs and build toward future goals.