Giving a Hand Up: Providing Employment Skills & Opportunities to Homeless in Davis

March 17, 2017

Very soon, people experiencing homelessness will have access to employment opportunities and training in Davis. The first project? Beautify downtown Davis. All of this is part of Pathways to Employment, a new program developed by the local faith community, the Davis business community, and individuals from across Davis. The program is primarily funded by Sutter Health, with matching grants from both the City of Davis and the County of Yolo and supplemental funding from Davis Downtown. Davis Community Meals and Housing will train and employ qualified participants.

Inspired by similar programs in the country, Rev. Bill Habicht of Davis Community Church brought together leaders from different sections of the community to meet and discuss new methods of fighting homelessness. Motivated by past successes like New Pathways and the Interfaith Rotating Winter Shelter of Davis, we have put together this regenerative program. By giving training and employment to our at risk population, we’re not only connecting them with new skills and a harm reducing environment, but we’re also able to connect them to other local programs without duplicating services.

We’re fully aware we won’t solve the issue of homelessness all on our own, which is why we’re taking the time to build a self-perpetuating, scalable, replicable program. We believe that once again, Davis can pave the way for other communities to address a widespread issue. Fifty years ago we opened the first bike lane, today we begin a new approach to employing people experiencing homelessness.

We just hired a program supervisor, are recruiting participants, and are about to begin our first project: downtown beautification. Five individuals will be employed in the program at any one time along with one supervisor. Yearly, we expect to have no less than 20 participants in the program. Participants will be trained in basic employment skills and have the opportunity to advance to two additional levels, helping direct the work of others and pass on the skills they have learned. All program participants will also be provided with assistance developing a resume, searching and applying for jobs, and applying for and securing permanent housing.

An investment in our community by the community, Pathways to Employment is a collaboration among the business, government, faith, and nonprofit communities, powered by residents and visitors alike, to improve our community through personal empowerment and city improvement projects.

So how can you get involved?

  • We need work opportunities for our participants & skills training.
  • While we have funding from Sutter Health, the City of Davis, County of Yolo, and Davis Downtown, we are taking donations to fund the employment development of program participants.
  • And, we want your feedback and ideas.