The foundation of Solid Ground’s programs are housing, but the work that we do goes so far beyond that. In all of our programs, assisting families in gaining and maintaining employment is critical to their long-term stability. This is especially critical in our HomeSafe and Home Again programs, where participants work on a shorter time period and need to be able to pay market-rate rent withing 6 to 18 months.
Funded in part by a generous economic sustainability grant from Xcel Energy, Solid Ground’s Employment & Education Program provides adults in our program with support in pursuing education, skills-training and employment so that they may increase their income and support their families. The program is run by Solid Ground’s Employment & Education Coordinator, Mary Jo Connolly, who holds Global Career Development Facilitator and Offender Workforce Development Specialist certifications. Mary Jo works one-on-one with clients to identify both barriers and opportunities, and helps clients prepare a plan of action for employment. She assists in identifying job leads, developing resumes and practice interviewing skills, and helps clients navigate workplace issues once employed.
One client recently helped by the program was Samanta. After her verbally and emotionally abusive husband of 15 years left abruptly, Samantha found herself raising her three school-aged children alone. Without enough income to pay the rent, she and her children were evicted from their apartment and became homeless. They moved into a homeless shelter and from there were referred to Solid Ground’s HomeSafe program.
The HomeSafe Advocate helped Samantha find an apartment that would be more affordable and had a landlord who would rent to her even though she had a previous eviction. Solid Ground pays a portion of her rent directly to the landlord while Samantha stabilize her family. Samantha met with her Advocate regularly and began attending family counseling at Canvas Health. She also participated in Budgeting classes through Solid Ground and set out to increase her income with the support of Solid Ground’s Employment & Education Program. With stable housing and the support of this program, Samantha was able to find a job at a local bank where she earned over 25% more than at her previous job. And on top of that, she was recently promoted to supervisor. Samantha has completed her time with the program with an income which enabled her to assume the full amount of her rent and a stable, affordable home. The future is looking much brighter for Samantha and her children.
Solid Ground thanks Xcel Energy for their support of this important program and in helping families achieve housing and economic stability.