Denver Offers Homeless Work Experience
A new city program is providing same-day day work opportunities at city work sites to people experiencing homelessness in Denver. Today, Mayor Michael B. Hancock, in officially launching the program, joined some of the first participants in the new Denver Day Works program as they planted trees outside the City and County Building and in Civic Center Park. Over the next year, the Denver Day Works pilot program will provide day work opportunities to hundreds of individuals who are experiencing homelessness, with a goal of connecting participants to stable employment.
“Many of Denver’s homeless need work now, not the promise of work tomorrow, and Denver Day Works will provide them the opportunity to access the program through the outreach teams who are connecting with them every day,” Mayor Hancock said. “Our goal is to help those who work hard and do well to develop workforce skills, and ultimately, connect them with employment and a more stable quality of life.”
Announced in the Mayor’s State of the City Address in July, Denver Day Works is a supported employment program. As part of the program, outreach teams will be dispatched across the city each day to connect with people who are experiencing homelessness and offer them an opportunity to work at Parks and Recreation sites and with private companies.
“Studies show that employment plays a role in wellbeing, and when people build a stable financial foundation and move to self-sufficiency, their overall mental and physical health can improve,” said Don Mares, Executive Director of Denver Human Services. “We are pleased to support Denver Day Works and to help connect participants not only to work, but also to support systems designed to help them achieve long term success.”
Participants will be given the option to work at job sites for a full or half day, and will be provided personal protection equipment like gloves, eye and ear protection, and receive lunch. At the end of each shift, participants will be compensated for their work and Denver Day Works outreach workers will help connect them to other supportive services such as food assistance, shelter and other public resources. The Denver Day Works program will aim to connect 150 of the individuals with work experience and retain nearly half of those individuals for next day work.
The initial Denver Day Works pilot program will run from Nov. 1, 2016 to Oct. 31, 2017 through a partnership between Denver's Road Home, Denver Public Works, Denver Parks and Recreation and Denver Human Services. The program will be administered in partnership with Bayaud Enterprises, who were selected following a competitive process.
“The Denver Day Works pilot program will provide an entry point to job opportunities for individuals experiencing homelessness and other barriers to employment that traditional jobs do not offer,” David Henninger, Executive Director of Bayaud Enterprises, said. “The program will open doors to work, providing added support and leading to economic recovery and financial stability for some of Denver’s residents.”
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