In the United States, poverty and vagrancy is a huge problem, and according to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Annual Homeless Assessment Report, on a given night in 208, there have been around 553,000 homeless people in the US. As many jobs require people to have a permanent address, including having a level of cleanliness that may at times prove to be difficult, being homeless can become a vicious cycle very quickly.
There is a non-profit organisation in Austin, Texas, trying to substantiate that if given a chance, there are plenty of opportunities for homeless people. This organisation provides employment opportunities for the homeless, without the barrier of having a permanent address, and this comes with a $15 an hour paycheck. The workers are provided with a meal and transportation to and from the worksite are also arranged.
The working homeless are also presented with free and voluntary case management services. This aims to get permanent employment and housing for the homeless. Austin’s homeless are also given access to showers, food, laundry facilities, the Internet, and day sleep facilities etc. on a property called The Golden Road, provided by OOF.
In close to 12 months, people who are facing homelessness and poverty have earned over $100,000 by OOF, and 24 of the poor who have worked with them have currently moved into a permanent address.
Members of the Austin City Council have started to believe in the program, and have allocated $720,000 for Family Eldercare Inc., which is overseeing OOF. This figure is over seven times more than the city had initially set aside when OOF began this as a pilot program back in September 2018.