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. Find out more about the SEED Initiatives here.