jobs & housing
Two of the "four pillars of livability" for post-incarceration women are jobs and housing. Everyone deserves the chance to earn an honest wage; everyone needs a decent place to live. Yet almost automatically, people with criminal records are denied jobs and housing only because they have criminal records—no matter the relevance of the offense, no matter their proven desire to rebuild their lives, no matter their skills.
Helping clients find living-wage jobs and affordable housing are among the top priorities of Friends of Guest House.
Can you help?
If you are, or know, an employer who will consider applicants with criminal records—please tell us. Our staff will work with you. For starters, read the story of one local business owner who knows from experience that "hiring ex-offenders makes good sense"—and read about Jenny, the remarkable woman, just released from incarceration, whom he hired.
Virginia is the 11th most expensive state in the nation for rental housing costs (National Low Income Housing Commission). How can our clients pay those rents without jobs? Even with jobs, most of our women are rejected by landlords because they have criminal histories. As a result, far too many Guest House clients end up homeless. You can help—connect us to willing landlords you may know.
To help with jobs or housing, the first step is to contact Friends of Guest House and arrange an introductory meeting with our staff. Call us at 703-549-8072 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
. Thank you!
FROM FRIENDS OF GUEST HOUSE NEWSLETTER (FALL 2012):
Paul Haire: “Hiring Ex-Offenders Makes Good Sense”
Friends of Guest House is proud to salute one of our best business supporters: Your Dog’s Best Friends. Located in Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood, YDBF was established in 2003 and offers services such as cageless “doggie daycare,” grooming and training for its canine clientele.
During YDBF’s first years, a woman in the same neighborhood was also getting established: in this case, rebuilding her life. After 27 years of heroin addiction, illiteracy, unemployment, (nonviolent) crime and repeat incarceration, Jennifer McDaniel was a client at Guest House. However, no one would hire her due to her criminal past. Guest House contacted YDBF’s owner, Paul Haire, as a potential employer. Unlike so many others, Paul said “yes.” Jenny started as a dog washer. She proved herself and moved up. For the past two years, she has been YDBF’s general manager. “She’s a smart woman with a lot of common sense, a lot of drive, a lot of gratitude,” says Paul. “She is just unrelenting in terms of wanting to make her life work.”
Paul went on to hire nearly 20 other Guest House graduates, some still on staff. He also hires ex-offenders through Virginia CARES. Finally, Paul and the YDBF team hold charity dog washes: four have benefited Guest House.
“If a parole officer or prosecutor calls me and says, ‘I’ve got someone who I think can make it if they can just get their feet under themselves,’ I will do my best to hire them,” says Paul. “I think any company that is looking for long-term employees who will have the motivation and gratitude to settle into the company and learn the company, should understand that they have a huge opportunity. Hiring ex-offenders makes good sense.” Learn more about YDBF at www.yourdogsbestfriends.com.
(May 6, 2016)