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Major Grant To Put Local Homeless To Work

GrantSPRINGFIELD, Mass (WGGB) — Dozens of homeless families across western Massachusetts are getting a helping hand from the state.  A new $300,000 grant called the Secure Jobs Connect will allow 76 local residents to find work.  The program focuses on innovative ways to get people on the right track. Not too long ago Denise Rios was raising her family in a homeless shelter.

“My own feeling was like i was stuck in a place. I like to work,” Denise Rios said. “I like to move forward. Now having my apartment, it feels great. It feels really comfortable.”

Denise is half way towards earning her EMT certificate and credits state aid with allowing her to gain her independence.
Pamela Schwartz says people like Denise are perfect for the new Secure Jobs Connect Program announced Tuesday.

“It provides the resources for the support for job training, for various educational programs, and for direct placement in places of employment-partnerships with business,” Pamela Schwartz, Director of the western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness said.

State leaders say they’ve also prioritized moving people out of hotels like this one in West Springfield, so not only will they have a job but a roof over their head.

In fact, the 76 participants for Secure Jobs Connect will be chosen from Homebase, the state’s transitional housing program that places people like Denise in their own homes. They’ll also get help with child care, transportation, and schooling costs secure jobs connect so once they get a job, they can keep it.

“This is about making a start, and it’s a critical start because it brings everybody around the table,” Schwartz said.

Denise says she’s proof that the program can work. The secure jobs connect program is good for one year. Officials hope to show the success of 76 people, and get the $300,000 grant again next year.

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