We just received a grant from TriMet that will help transport our Connect Program residents, homeless men who are in the process of transitioning off the streets, to job interviews and medical appointments. It’s a roughly $10,000 grant that will provide transportation for the next 6 months!
This grant will directly help people like David, who has been unemployed for quite a while. When he lost his housing back in October, he was forced into homelessness. Between camping out and staying in cheap motel rooms, David was able to get by, but he desperately wanted to return to having a job and a place to stay. He just needed a little help getting back on his feet.
“I came downtown and was a guest here at the Mission for a few nights, getting meals and staying downstairs,” David said. When David got word that there was an opening in our Connect Program, a specifically designed program to help homeless men get jobs and housing – exactly what he was looking for – he immediately joined the program.
“I was open and honest with my issues, and the staff here were open and honest about how they could help me,” David said. In the Connect Program, David has been getting three meals a day, a warm bed at night, internet usage and advocacy support to help get housing.
What David didn’t have, however, was reliable transportation to get to medical appointments and job interviews.
“Being homeless without transportation is tough. You have to scrape together enough to get a bus pass and it takes a lot of effort. A lot of times you can only really look for a job in one area. It’s a huge factor.”
The grant from TriMet will help David get to his east side medical appointments, something that has been very difficult for him in the past. “Without transit, it would pretty much be impossible,” he said. Now that he can get his medical situation taken care of, David will be able to focus on getting a job.
Our Connect Ministry for homeless women will operate similarly to Link. It will be opening soon Read more about Connect here.
“I think this will encourage the Connect Program guys to look at jobs and resources in different areas of town,” David said. “It’s so helpful to know that you have your fare covered. And if you get called back for another interview, you have that fare covered as well.”
I asked David what he would say to TriMet if given the chance.
“Thank you,” he said. “You are helping in a way that people don’t always think about. When you think about homeless, many think about donating food, clothing, and cash. That’s important, but taking care of aspects [like transportation] that aren’t always so face-forward is also really important.”