With the help of employees, interns, and board members, I have been laying down the foundation for improving the transition to full time employment for the homeless population. In order to accomplish this we need to work on three things. Firstly, we need to make sure that Street Speech, selling newspapers to the public, is only temporary. Secondly, we need to do a needs-assessment to determine what is holding these individuals back from gaining full-time employment. Thirdly, we need to expand the existing social enterprise, Greenworks, to offer more street newspaper vendors the opportunity to work for it after selling the newspaper
I have been told that Street Speech needs to be transitional employment. I have noticed that many vendors are staying in the program for several years. We need to limit the amount of time that these vendors can participate in this program because it was initially set-up to provide quick, immediate relief and not long-term employment. We will create mandatory workshops based on the needs assessment to help transition from them this program to Greenworks or another full-time employment option.
One employee and I have been working to expand Greenworks in order to feed vendors into this program from Street Speech. Greenworks’s capacity is not big enough to hire many vendors. Firstly, we need to do a better job at marketing the program to increase the number of customers. I recently made a survey to send out to various businesses in downtown and the Short North. Secondly, it will be more profitable to find a place to sort the recyclables to collect extra money versus dumping the recyclables into a RUMPKE recycling bin. We have looked into this option, but no companies offer enough money to make it worthwhile.
My quest for starting a new social enterprise was put to a halt when I saw that the social enterprise Clean Turn is already doing the same work I wanted to do. I will continue to meet with the entrepreneurs who have started social enterprises and find out what the community needs to set up my own startup. If I am unable to accomplish this I will network with these current social enterprises to hire our homeless population.
To meet the social needs of the vendors I am in the process of setting up a bowling night for the street vendors. I will use tactics from the Cramer and Associates presentation to create this evening. I will be talking to the bowling manager at a local bowling alley where one of my co-workers and I frequently bowl. I have done my research by looking up the current prices of group rates. I will ask the manager for a lowered rate based on the needs of our population. In exchange, I will tell him in exchange we can put the name of the alley in one of our homeless brochures.