“The majority of homeless people are situationally homeless and have marketable skills and experience in the workforce,” according to Shelters to Shutters CEO Andy Helmer. His organization works in the apartment industry to connect people experiencing homelessness, referred by nonprofits, to jobs in maintenance tech, groundskeeping, and lease consulting.
“If you have a population within your community that actually has the skills that you’re looking for, but you’re overlooking them, then the community suffers,” Helmer said.
Helmer works in an optimal sector to address housing and employment simultaneously. But his team is considering expanding this model to other industries, such as capitalizing on the shortage of long-haul commercial truckers or establishing a temp agency to give people practical experience in new fields. Shelters to Shutters recently established a City Advisory Board in D.C. to build partnerships with other local industries.
“I think there’s overall a tremendous sense of people wanting to help,” Helmer said. “So that is not something unique to the apartment industry.”
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