Trying to get back on your feet after incarceration can be difficult. Beyond managing culture shock, parole, and legal fees, a previous criminal record can limit housing and job options. According to 2020 SEED Grant Fund recipient, Worksystems, people re-entering their community after incarceration are often forced to take temporary jobs to support their immediate needs. However necessary, these short-term jobs can distract from long-term career goals, do not guarantee financial security, and often result in homelessness. And once someone experiences homelessness it is difficult to secure employment, resulting in a cycle of homelessness, unemployment, and recidivism.
Worksystems’ SEED Grant Fund program Housing Support for Justice Involved Portlanders Pursuing Middle Income Careers will provide 30 people re-entering their community from incarceration with the important combination of integrated housing and employment services. According to a 2018 report commissioned by Meyer Memorial Trust, when Worksystems provided general housing aid and workforce development, participants were 38% more likely to complete occupational training, 67% more likely to obtain employment, and earned nearly twice the income.
To meet one of the SEED Grant Fund’s goals of serving communities disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition, 100% of participants will be low-income with 30% or less of Median Family Income, 100% will be homeless or facing eviction, and 75% will identify as African American or Native American. Stacey Triplet, Worksystems’ Community Program manager states, “[The funds received] by the SEED Grant Fund will support people as they are going through the program so that they can complete the training, and obtain employment-- which greatly improves their ability to earn and provide long-term stability for themselves and their families, We cannot wait to make a contribution to meeting this urgent need in our community.”
For more information about 2020 SEED Grant Recipient, Worksystems, please check out https://www.worksystems.org
Recently, the City of Portland Cannabis Program announced its 2020 SEED Grant Fund recipients. The fund provides support to non-profit and for-profit entities working toward restitution and restoration of BIPOC communities negatively impacted by racially-biased cannabis prohibition. Over the next few weeks, we will present a series highlighting the grantees and the wonderful work they are doing to empower our Portland community.
To learn more about upcoming SEED Grant funding opportunities, please sign up for our Civic Life semi-monthly newsletter HERE.