With big ideas and high hopes, Justin relocated to Seattle recently from Arizona.
The adventurous 31-year-old looked up at our city skyline, dotted with construction cranes, and saw the economic promise for which Seattle has become known. Yet he quickly faced the financial reality of Seattle’s skyrocketing rents.
Justin found himself homeless – something he never encountered back in Arizona. Separated by distance from most of his family and friends, he felt alone and on his own.
That is until he made a profound connection to his new city through temporary work he obtained through the United Way of King County’s new Jobs Connect employment outreach program. His short-term job as a street maintenance ambassador for the Metropolitan Improvement District (MID) has evolved into full-time work, and also is providing Justin a potential pathway to a safe and stable place to live in his new city.
“When we get good ones, we don’t let go of them,” said Judy Parker, outreach case manager for the MID, a Jobs Connect anchor employer that hired Justin permanently after just one day of witnessing his worth on the job.
Jobs Connect is designed to assist the most vulnerable among us, the thousands of individuals surviving each night in Seattle without a roof over their head. Justin connected with the program through Millionair Club Charity, the longtime Seattle nonprofit partnering with the United Way. Millionair Club helps Justin get ready for work each morning by providing him transportation, a locker to store his belongings, a hot breakfast and a sack lunch to go. The nonprofit also provides him a place to shower and launder his clothes after work.
In addition to getting a full-time job, Justin’s foray into the Jobs Connect program has led him to eye a vacant dormitory-style apartment that the Millionair Club leases in the Kasota building in Belltown. “Wow, this is nice,” Justin said while touring the place recently with a Millionair Club employee.
Though his decision to move to Seattle appeared bleak at first, Justin now is mapping out a successful future for himself. “I like working outside in the fresh air,” he said. “I figure I’ll keep this job for a couple years. I’m hoping it will help me earn the money I need to go to school. I want to be a registered nurse.”