City’s Homeless Job-Training Program Provides Model to ‘Set People Up for Success’

Published: 10/2/2018

BALTIMORE — For communities struggling with homelessness, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. But there are various strategies and models that have had success in one jurisdiction that others can look to see what can be adapted for their locality.  

Riverside, California has gained attention for being the only city in the Golden State to end veterans homelessness. While the city’s housing-first approach has played a big role in helping to get unsheltered individuals into more stable environments, a job-training program that leads to positions with the city has helped some local homeless residents go from surviving on the streets to self sufficiency.

“It’s not the answer, it’s one of the answers,” Stephanie Holloman, the city’s human resources director said during a packed session at the International City / County Management Association’s annual conference in Baltimore last week. It’s “an opportunity for them to live viable lives.”

Participants in the Riverside at Work program receive 12 months of rental assistance and placement in a suitable part-time position with the city where they get on-the-job training along with ongoing skills training.