MEETING NEIGHBORS WHERE THEY ARE
Our homeless neighbors experience a variety of cultural, educational, economic and situational barriers that keep them from re-entering the workforce by traditional means. Many desire meaningful work, but require community support and creative approaches to successfully transition into the workforce, or to seek solutions and support in obtaining income through government benefits.
Since 2012, Micah has operated the Step Forward income development ministry to support neighbors with skill-building, community engagement, and workforce development resources. We have learned that many of our neighbors have physical or mental disabilities that cause them to struggle with a typical structure of employment. Lessons learned over the years have evolved into three branches of income support: Connections to mainstream employment, SOAR benefits support, and customized income strategies.
Neighbors can meet with our in-house Employment Assistance volunteers for support with job applications, resume-writing, and job-hunting. Our volunteers can can connect guests to additional workforce resources in the community.
We are fortunate to have employment partnerships with local businesses, to help connect guests with local employment partners to build job skills and work readiness.
Guests can come during walk-in hours on a first come first serve basis at our Hospitality Center. Please call ahead for current walk-in hours.
For local businesses interested in learning more about how to work with our Step Forward team as an employment partner, please contact us!
SOAR Support (Social Security)
Using the nationally recognized SOAR (an acronym standing for SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery) model, staff work closely with our street outreach and housing team to submit high-quality Social Security applications.
Walk-in support is available for any guests with questions or concerns about Social Security benefits. Receive help with case consulting, understanding letters/forms, MySSA account creation, general questions, or troubleshooting current benefit issues.
Please call ahead for walk-in hours.
Job Club & Customized Income
Step Forward neighbors are a dynamic community of job-seekers, entrepreneurs, and peers supporting one another to learn work readiness skills, encourage entrepreneurship, and explore vocational interests.
Step Forward offers different strategies and levels of support for our neighbors seeking the dignity and independence that comes from earning income, even for those of our neighbors who are unable to succeed in traditional mainstream work.
Some of these strategies include: offering paid “internships” to our neighbors to try job training in partnering local businesses; supporting neighbors in entreprenurial ventures that complement their skills and interests; and providing equipment and supplies for needed training and opportunities for neighbors.
The support of the Job Club and our customized income strategies help our neighbors to be productive, engaged members of the community, regardless of their disabilities or limitations.
SOME WAYS STEP FORWARD HELPS
- Operating a walk-in space at the Hospitality Center for resume and job search assistance, and assistance with building interview skills
- Connection to computer skills training
- Transportation coordination to and from work
- Mediation of workplace issues
- Life skills development
- Connection to GED, Diploma completion, and higher education services
- Transitional work experiences that test participants for work ethic, skills and attitude
- Assistance setting up bank accounts and managing a paycheck
- Connection with permanent employment opportunities
- Wrap around support for those needing to apply for social security benefits
- Community support to learn work readiness skills
- Safe place to explore entrepreneurial opportunities and foster creativity
Are you interested in joining the community of volunteers that supports this ministry? Visit our volunteer page to get connected.