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Helping the Homeless Find Jobs

By: Lisa Ferrari Email
By: Lisa Ferrari Email

March 25, 2008

One area shelter is providing local homeless with beds and even helping them get jobs. However, there's a problem on the horizon. The shelter behind the effort is in danger of being closed down.

The Hope Community Center in the 10th and Page neighborhood has been helping the homeless since December. But a city zoning ordinance doesn't allow overnight shelters in residential neighborhoods. Now, the shelter operators hope the city will make an exception so they can continue their good work.

“If we are closed then these 50 people who were here last night will be back on the street,” said Shelter Director Joshua Bare.

The homeless shelter at The Hope Community center is open temporarily as Joshua Bare tackles a zoning dispute with the city of Charlottesville.

“There's no shelter clause so they are trying to shut us down,” said Bare.

In the meantime, business continues as usual. Tuesday, the center along with PVCC held a resume building seminar for 60 homeless men and women.

“I made a resume today,” said Earl McCraw, who is looking for a job.

“The first step is training them and then to give the opportunity to get that job, because they need a job to get an apartment, to get back on their feet and get back into society,” said Bare.

Many homeless have experience, but have never had a resume or thought about creating one.

“People don't realize sometimes the experience they really have,” said Lyn Van Der Sommen of PVCC Work Force Services.

“You know you may not have a lot of job history, but you have life history,” said Bare.

“They just need to put it in a format that people are comfortable dealing with,” said Pat O’Rourke of PVCC Work Force Services.

Those who attended the seminar also received training in applying for jobs. And, some wasted no time employing what they learned.

“I put one in at the Resource Center at City Hall and I'm hoping I get a maintenance job,” said McCraw.

Many plan to take their new skills and new resumes to a job fair Wednesday.

As for the shelter, they will hear on April 17th, 2008 whether the City Council will allow a special use permit and if the shelter will be able to remain open.

For more information on how you can volunteer or make food and monetary donations, visit http://www.hopecommunitycenter.org/.

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