100 Homeless DC Residents Back to Work through Friendship Place’s AimHire Program
Friendship Place’s AimHire Job Placement program reached a milestone Tuesday, with its 100th successful job placement. Of the 100 homeless adults back to work in the DC Metro Area, 97 have also found housing – either temporary or permanent – through the program.
Fully launched 18 months ago, AimHire has earned a reputation for being one of the most effective job placement programs for homeless men and women in the area. The program is privately funded and the staff tailors their approach to the unique needs of each job-seeking participant, many of whom face significant barriers to self-sufficiency.
Launching a job placement program for a high-barrier population in a rebounding economy and competitive job market is no easy feat. “We know that people experiencing homelessness want to get back on their feet and rebuild their lives. They want to get back to work. Many simply do not have the resources that they need to make it happen,” said Jermaine Hampton, Director of AimHire. “So we responded by launching AimHire and got to work building connections in the community.”
Targeted partnerships with congregations, business owners, employers, landlords and key community members is the foundation of AimHire’s success. Each partner plays a specific role, fulfilling a specific need – whether it’s hiring participants, volunteering as a mentor, or pulling funds together for temporary housing.
“The greatest reward of all is to see people regain their independence who have spent years, even decades, trying to get out of homelessness,” says Drew Gossett, one of the AimHire staff members. “When provided with the opportunity to be equally evaluated for jobs as the rest of society, our AimHire participants show up with a tremendous drive and ability to succeed.”
Rossi’s journey to employment perfectly echoes this sentiment. Trying to break into the job market with the stigmatizing label of “ex-offender” can ruin any chance of employment from the get-go. But that didn’t stop her or the AimHire team. For several months, Rossi came in to Friendship Place’s Welcome Center to work on her interview skills, learning how to emphasize her many strengths and abilities and regain the confidence to market herself to an employer.
After Rossi received the call from a local nonprofit that she “got the job,” her spirits soared. “I had a contact there that got her foot in the door,” recounts Jermaine, “but she did all the leg work and completely aced the interview.” Now employed and on her way to stable housing through a rental subsidy fund at Friendship Place partner Anne Frank House, Rossi feels like she has her life back, thanks to what she received from the Friendship Place team – hard work and dedication. Her employment marks the program’s 100th job placement.
According to Executive Director Jean-Michel Giraud, AimHire reaches beyond traditional vocational programming. “Our work is done through leveraging partnerships, fostering job-readiness skills and practicing solidarity with our participants. The AimHire staff and partners stand by each participant as they embark on their unique path to employment. It’s a conviction that with the resources available, a way will be found.”