Fairfax City and Lamb Center Launch Day-Work Program to Employ Those Experiencing Homelessness
It’s a refrain heard in countless municipalities across America: How can we help those experiencing homelessness and provide a financial step-up?
Enter an innovative pilot program — launched in November in Fairfax City — that addresses both homelessness and an individual’s financial viability and dignity.
Managed by the staff at the Lamb Center — a nonprofit that serves the poor and those experiencing homelessness in Fairfax and Northern Virginia — in coordination with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, the program is scheduled to run through February 2019. Here’s how it works:
- The day-work program enables eight to 10 Lamb Center guests to work two days per week for four-hour shifts at city-designated work sites.
- The Lamb Center registers program participants, provides transportation, supervises job sites and pays workers in cash at the end of each shift (workers will earn $10 per hour).
- Fairfax City provides the Lamb Center clients learning opportunities and a pathway back into the work force.
The new day-work program is funded by a $15,000 grant from Fairfax City to the Lamb Center. The pilot is modeled after "There's a Better Way," a successful initiative in Albuquerque, N.M.
“We’re extremely proud to offer a program like this in Fairfax City,” says Mayor David Meyer. “It’s an approach that not only assists those who need help, but also benefits the city and its residents by providing valuable services that we need every day. It’s truly community in action.”
Tara Ruszkowski, the Lamb Center board chair, says, “Through this partnership, we’re giving people the dignity of work and building them up as human beings. We’re also saying something very positive about our community and what can be accomplished when we work together.”