Combating homelessness with not just a handout, but a hand up

David Madden
March 27, 2019 - 3:45 pm
Camden County officials are looking to place those who want to work with permanent jobs.

David Madden/KYW Newsradio

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CAMDEN, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — Camden County officials say their efforts to combat homelessness are working well enough to take things to the next step. They’re looking to place those who want to work with permanent jobs.

For more than a year, the county has teamed up with Volunteers of America to offer services to homeless people. Some make themselves available for temp jobs that pay them daily. A few have entered the “Bridge to Work” program. 

Malcolm Flowers is one of them and has a part-time gig with the county.

“I don’t want to be an inconvenience to anybody,” Flowers told KYW Newsradio. “I don’t want to stand on the corner asking you for a quarter or a dime or a nickel when I can have a job.”

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More than 400 people have come through the day job program and about 130 have obtained assistance in turning their lives around. The county vows to increase those numbers.

“Many of the individuals that are homeless, it’s because they need a job,” County Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez added. “And there are many employers out there that may have that capacity to provide somebody with that opportunity to work.”

But it may not easy for those who live on the street. Some just don’t want the help. Others have issues or criminal records. 

But the message here is clear: Assistance is available if you want it.