Unemployment among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans -- a disgraceful 11.2% -- should be a top U.S. priority, says the Jericho Project, a national nonprofit whose Vocational/Educational program creates outstanding results in getting homeless individuals off the streets and on with life. A good step is H.R. 1171, unanimously passed by the House and headed to the Senate, which would reauthorize job training, counseling and placement services for homeless veterans through 2014.
"This bill addresses the crucial issue of helping at risk and homeless veterans obtain the training, counseling, job placement and even child care services they need to re-enter the job market," said Tori Lyon, Executive Director at Jericho Project, whose Veterans Initiative is providing two supportive Veterans Residences and an array of services including employment assistance, psychological support and a strong social network.
For over 25 years Jericho has been ending homelessness at its roots by providing its distinctive model of permanent supportive housing, comprehensive counseling and ongoing aftercare. These results show how it can transform the lives of its 280 men and women residents:
--85 % of Jericho's residents participate in its Vocational and Educational Program
--84 % of those who got new jobs in 2007 and 2008 have kept them for at least six months
--20% increase in average salary over five years, from $9.03 in 2003 to $10.85 in 2008 -- an extraordinary accomplishment considering that most residents enter Jericho with an average monthly income of $400, or $1.65 per hour
--53 residents found new employment in 2008 Â exceeding Jericho's goal of 40.
--64% of new job placements in 2008 were into full time positions.
Many of its residents achieve high school equivalent degrees, and go on to college.
"We need to initiate programs like these to enable veterans regain their dignity and rightful place in society," said Ms. Lyon.
Jericho's Veterans Initiative will be designed to meet the specific needs of those who served in the nation's armed forces. It will also draw upon Jericho's highly effective model of supportive housing and counseling services that stress recovery, employment, and graduation to independent living. The Jericho Veterans Residences in the Bronx, New York, will serve 132 at-risk and homeless veterans and will feature small studio apartments, staff offices, a community room, a computer lab, and a garden.
Contact Lynthia Romney 914-238-2145, or 914-589-2140 Cell,