Those who are homeless often have trouble finding a job because they lack an address and phone number, have long periods of unemployment, have a criminal record, or lack transportation to and from work. Some 7,000 residents of the Atlanta Metro region are homeless. First Step Staffing, and other programs like Boston's Work First, focus on putting the formerly homeless on a path to financial independence.
Earlier this week Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall asked his colleagues to consider hiring homeless workers from First Step Staffing or other similar programs for vacant staff positions. Given that unemployment is often the reason for homelessness–according to the Georgia Department of Labor, roughly 10.3 percent of those in the Atlanta region were unemployed in August 2010–it makes little sense in the long-term to house someone with no means to become self-sufficient.
Putting homeless residents to work saves valuable public dollars, bolsters their self-worth and reduces the likelihood of chronic homelessness. Tell the Atlanta City Council to give homeless residents a chance at a job.
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