Affordable Housing, Community Development, Homelessness, Supportive Housing

Linking Housing, Jobs and Child Care

 

Stable, safe housing is the foundation for strong families and personal and community security and development. Yet, housing is very expensive in Connecticut and many individuals and families have incomes that are so low that they are unable to pay for housing. Recognizing that obtaining and sustaining well paying jobs is paramount for affording housing, the Reaching Home Campaign aims to launch an initiative to develop public/private partnerships that better link housing assistance with workforce and child care systems to secure jobs for families transiting from shelter into housing.

On May 12, 2014, the Partnership for Strong Communities partnered with the Melville Charitable Trust to host the forum, “Opening Doors to Employment: Promising Practices of the Secure Jobs Initiative”. Thanks to the vision and support of the Melville Trust, we were able to bring together service providers, State, local and Federal officials, the philanthropic community and advocates to learn about the success of the initiative in Massachusetts. The Paul and Phyllis Fireman Charitable Foundation, a Massachusetts philanthropy dedicated to ending family homelessness, launched the public-private “Secure Jobs” initiative in 2013 to demonstrate that regional partnerships spanning the housing/homelessness and workforce development fields can support families to obtain work and achieve economic security. Employment results have been so impressive that the program is being adopted and expanded.

The Connecticut forum discussed how the initiative was organized, operated and funded in Massachusetts and how we might replicate the model in Connecticut. Leaders from Massachusetts emphasized the importance of establishing vigorous collaborative partnerships between housing organizations and the workforce system to integrate employment services and housing assistance activities at the local level. The speakers emphasized the importance of the following “Top Ten Takeaways:”

  1. Breaking down silos between government agencies, service agencies and workforce development  and housing agencies
  2. Flexible funding to allow creative problem solving and  maximum use of resources
  3. Local innovations
  4. Funders bought outcomes and did not prescribe how to get there
  5. State agency buy-in and engagement
  6. Ensuring that participants are “ready to work”
  7. Building relationships with employers
  8. Engaging and leveraging municipal leadership
  9. Understanding who and what barriers exist

Partnership is excited about moving forward with our dedicated and committed partners to implement this successful initiative in Connecticut.

 

 
 

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