Organization: First Step Staffing
Country: United States of America
Project Name: Employment for Men and Women Experiencing Homelessness
Grantee Name: Amelia Nickerson
Private Sector Solutions ✓
System Change ✓
Empowerment of Individuals ✓
Only 5% of all dollars allocated to fight homelessness are directed to jobs programs. Of the dollars that are allocated to jobs programs, the majority of assistance is not employer-driven. As the number of those experiencing homelessness has ballooned over the past 3 years, First Step Staffing (FSS) has stepped in to bridge the gap between homelessness services focused on housing and more traditional workforce development programs that often leave the hardest to serve behind. They execute on this mission using an alternative staffing model that meets the hiring needs of local businesses while prioritizing staffing resources to those who have been most excluded from the workforce. They also provide supportive services, like transportation to and from work, that help people with obstacles to employment and advancement once in the workforce.
As most programs focus on providing the basic material needs of those currently experiencing homelessness, FSS takes a more foundational approach. Through equipping individuals with skills, resources, transportation services, and connections to potential employers, FSS is reducing the barriers that those experiencing homelessness must overcome to become the active protagonists in their own lives—rather than the passive recipients of welfare.
When individuals are empowered to achieve greater personal prosperity through meaningful work, they can change both themselves and their communities through increased savings. The FSS approach achieves a multiplier-effect as individuals move from welfare recipients to working taxpayers in their own communities.
FSS aims to employ a minimum of 5,000 men and women annually paying more than $60 million in earned wages.