The Year of Homecoming at the Millionair Club Charity! Explore the report to meet a man named Scott who overcame homelessness and is now permanently employed, tour the MCC’s Kasota Apartment, and chat with one of the MCC’s favorite employers, iClick! Thank you to all of our 2015 Supporters: YOU MADE IT HAPPEN.
Dear MCC Supporters,
There were three things I loved to point out to supporters last year: outreach, motivation, and a good hot shower. Yes, thanks to people like you, the Millionair Club Charity saw significant growth in these three areas of our Employment Program and that growth is creating more success stories in the battle to combat homelessness.
As you might already know, for the past 95 years many folks who wanted to enroll in the MCC’s supportive employment program heard about if from a friend and then came to our building. In 2016, the ability to “bring” the MCC’s message directly to people living on the streets was made possible by a partnership with the United Way of King County, Downtown Seattle Association, and the City of Seattle. The new outreach program is called Jobs Connect.
We purchased a van that could drive around the city to homeless encampments and wherever people were living unsheltered. As you can imagine, folks living outside, who are cold, hungry, and living with little means, can find it impossible to believe that they are employable. The Jobs Connect program is designed exactly for these unsheltered men and women! Our outreach coordinator tells them about the services available for them at the MCC, and then whisks them back to headquarters for a hot meal and a shower. The result? A step toward being job ready. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray even came in-person to the MCC to recognize the project’s significance in the city’s homeless problem; and since last April, over 2,000 people received outreach and over 100 found a permanent job through the program.
On a regional and national stage, you will be very glad to hear that the MCC was chosen by the Social Innovation Fund to be one of twenty-two nonprofit organizations to join the REDF Portfolio. The organizations in this portfolio are selected due to the success of their programs for people with barriers to employment. The goal is to provide access to funding and research that will make good programs even better. At the MCC, we are able to use REDF funds to create a new set of employment “motivations” that should result in our clients getting higher wage jobs to sustain them throughout their life. You will hear more about the results of this “STEP” program later in the year.
And last but not least, that “good hot shower.” All of you realize the importance of being ability to shower and wash your clothes to get ready for work. But you may not know that in a city that has almost 4,000 unsheltered people, and 6,000 more living in shelters, there are only 7 shower and laundry facilities in the city limits. So with, the help of many donors – especially the Celebrity Waiters Luncheon group – the MCC raised the money to renovate and expand our existing hygiene center and increase its capacity. We opened it to the public last September and since then, new center has doubled the number of people shower and wash their clothes for work every day.
As you know, these three items are just a few of the many services available to folks who are trying to become job ready, connect to work, find a permanent job, and access affordable housing. Remember: it’s your faithful support of the Millionair Club Charity that is helping MORE people every year to escape one of the thorniest problems facing our region – homelessness and poverty.
Jim Miller, Executive Director
DID YOU KNOW? Up to 45% of homeless men wear ill-fitting shoes, and 75% of unsheltered men and women are on their feet for at least 5 hours a day!
Last night, the Millionair Club Charity hosted its very first foot care clinic. The event took place at our Belltown program center were we hit the ground running with an incredible team of volunteers from the Seattle University Nursing program, in partnership with the Seattle University Executive Leadership Program, and Redeeming Soles. Services and gear provided during the clinic included new socks, new shoes, foot hygiene, and a foot exam.
By the end of the evening, 20 members of the MCC’s Supportive Employment Program had received an individual foot scrub and brief exam. The room was all smiles as our MCC clients enjoyed their foot baths, and afterward, each worker picked out a brand new pair of shoes, with the option of choosing tennis shoes, non-slip black shoes, or work boots.
One man had hitch-hiked in size 12 shoes from Maine to Seattle. No small feat, considering his true size was 14 wide! As soon as he got his size 14 wide shoes he threw away his old pair with a sigh of relief. He is currently training with Metropolitan Improvement District to become a Street Ambassador (part of the MCC Job’s Connect Program).
We think the Foot Care Clinic is a great way to become job ready. Having proper footwear is a vital foundation for safety on the job. Thanks so much to the donors and volunteers who made this happen! The MCC hopes to make the Foot Care Clinic a monthly event.
ABOUT THE ISSUE: Foot health and the homeless
Foot pain is significantly more common among homeless individuals. For the unsheltered, infections related to poor hygiene are common, but even more common, are problems related to repetitive stress the most common foot concern for people who are unsheltered or experiencing homelessness. Simply put, people without housing walk a lot. According to one study, 74% of respondents stated they were on their feet 5 hours or more each day, walking a median of 5 miles. This daily foot-stress is compounded by the fact that many homeless individuals have ill-fitting shoes. Foot stress can also be worsened by preexisting conditions, such as diabetes, which are prevalent among homeless populations. Sources and More Info.
Quick Take— Every January King County undertakes a survey to estimate the total homeless and unsheltered population in the area. This year the survey takes place in the context of Seattle’s ongoing homelessness crisis. The survey is also being conducted under new leadership, aiming to capture an even broader and more accurate picture of the crisis than ever before.
Next Friday Seattle organization All Home will conduct King County’s annual effort to measure its homeless population. Seattle residents might be familiar with the name “One Night Count,” but this year the survey will be called “Count Us In.” The 2017 survey has a new name and a new organizer but the effort will fulfill the same federally mandated requirement.
Every January communities across the country organize to perform a requisite survey of homelessness in their areas. These surveys, conducted by local organizations and volunteer teams, are called Point In Time (PIT) counts and they are designed to capture the number of “…sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons on a single night in January.” Because unstably housed populations can’t be counted through regular census techniques (which typically require a home address) the PIT number represents the best estimate for an area’s homeless population in a given year.
In Seattle, these estimates have increased dramatically over the past couple of years, and in 2016 the Mayor declared homelessness to be a citywide crisis. It’s been almost 12 months since the mayor’s pronouncement and the city’s response to the crisis has been mired in conflict. The results of Seattle’s upcoming PIT count will show this city exactly where it stands in relation to the startling 2016 numbers. Not only does this count represent the first official PIT survey of overall homelessness since the crisis was declared, it also marks a shift in community leadership surrounding the process, bringing important changes to the data collection process.
The One Night Count organization has coordinated the Seattle and King County PIT count for 37 years, but in 2017 they pass the torch to All Home, another local organization already working in the sphere of homelessness. This leadership transition, coupled with changes to the federal guidelines, will alter the PIT process in key areas. All Home has released an outline of these changes on their website. New features include a “shift from a ‘known area’ count to a 100% canvass of every census tract in the county,” and “more comprehensive sample-based survey efforts including both shelter/service sites as well as non-service locations.” Such decisions mark an effort to broaden the base of information collected to capture a more accurate (and perhaps more urgent) picture of Seattle’s current homelessness crisis. Simply put: these numbers could be the largest yet.
With All Home finishing preparations, the Seattle community, homeless and housed alike, is waiting for the PIT count to put a number to a crisis experienced by all.
Starting this January (2017) the Millionair club is raising wages for its workers! The increase is designed to keep pace with Seattle’s new minimum wage requirements, which will roll out citywide over the course of the next three years.
This is good news for the workers in our supportive employment program who are striving every day to lift themselves off the streets and out of poverty through work experience.
With the citywide increase in wages, our “Hire-a-Worker” rates will also be slightly raised. Read on for the specifics: 2017 MCC Wage Increase
To learn more about Seattle’s schedule of minimum wage increases, click here.
Thank you donors and supporters: you enable the Millionair Club Charity to run a supportive employment program with many services and one convenient location. You help people who are homeless become job ready. People just like Sam…
Sam was homeless when he arrived at the Millionair Club Charity (MCC). He had tried to find work through other agencies but didn’t have success, until he came to the MCC. What was different?
“The application process is easy. It’s organized, and when they send you out on a job, there’s a schedule,” points out Sam “and they work out a bus route for you that’s always perfect, so you can get to work. They even give us a lunch to take to work.”
“I got a Food Handler’s card through the MCC, and it’s a blessing. I am able to go out and do the jobs at the stadium concession, and I am having a ball. There are also lots of day jobs doing like, basic carpentry, furniture moving, which are excellent jobs and I appreciate the chance to do that.”
Three and a half months after enrolling in the MCC’s supportive employment program, Sam was offered a permanent job as a street ambassador with the Metropolitan Improvement District. He accepted it , but then discovered a construction apprentice program at the University of Washington: the PACE program. If he was accepted, he would make about $23 an hour!
“Seattle is an expensive town. With all my bills, I need a healthy wage to be able to support myself. But the apprentice program makes you go through a boot camp to qualify. You have to carry bricks, shovel rocks into wheelbarrows, off-load the rocks, lift plywood, and transfer piles of rebar. Then you have to run a certain distance.
“It’s about responsibility. The PACE program does not want someone who wants to laze around. They want people to go out for work, do the right thing, and earn a wage where you can provide for yourself. They want to make sure you’ll work hard and be ready for a job when you graduate. I was accepted and will train for 11 weeks.”
But Sam had a program. He could not afford rent to live anywhere but the shelter where he was sleeping. Sam came back to the MCC to ask for one last piece of support: a place to live. And with Jobs Connect funding, the Millionair Club Charity was able to pay for Sam’s rent at MCC’s own Kasota housing building.
“All this would not be possible without the MCC giving me the opportunity to better myself. Through the MCC I have a place to stay, I can do my laundry for free, and my meals are provided at the place I stay. I do believe this will help me be a success at school.”
“And I want to pass that on to anyone out there who needs help to work. The MCC is where it’s at for good clothing and work. In fact, I haven’t heard of any organization out there that’s like them. Everyone should come to the MCC for help because it’s #1.”
“I want to thank the MCC and the staff at the MCC for giving me the opportunity to make myself better. And none of this would be possible without the donors. I want to thank the donors, for giving me this opportunity. I really appreciate y’all.”
“And when I do graduate I will come back to the MCC and volunteer myself. I want to help out and help others.”
THANK YOU DONORS AND SUPPORTERS: With your help this year 182 men and women have obtained permanent or long term jobs through the MCC’s supportive employment program. Did you know that for every homeless person who obtains permanent work taxpayers save up to $40,000 a year in service payments? That’s a total of $7.28 MILLION DOLLARS !
Meet one young lady who is “very excited” to be named on the MCC’s permanent job achievement list: Jemeika.
Soon, Jemeika will start a new permanent job with full benefits – but the road to stability was a long one. It all started at Century Link stadium.
“I noticed a long line of people checking in to work at Century Link Stadium and asked ‘who is doing that?'” It was the Millionair Club Charity.“So I came to the MCC and enrolled in the employment program. The MCC staff treats you really fair – they don’t discriminate if you’re homeless. They are such a good resource to lay your foundation for success.
“When you need help, it’s really hard when you have to go to so many places to get the resources you need. I needed a cell phone, food handler’s card, and prescription eye glasses; I got all of these through the MCC – and they paid for it.”
“Then I started in day labor working the Century Link Stadium games. But what I really wanted was a stable job for me and my son. Then I heard about the Street Ambassador program at the Metropolitan Improvement District (MID) and thought, ‘I could do that.’ It’s a decent job.”
“If you know a homeless person, you should tell them to go get some help at the MCC. I see these people struggling and they don’t need to struggle. I know how hard it is to keep pushing for what you need. If they’re consistent in coming to the MCC and open to different jobs, they won’t have to worry about how they’re going to pay their bills.
“And if you have a paycheck, you can utilize it in several areas to overcome barriers. Like, having a record of your paychecks can get you into housing. I would like to tell the donors for this program that their money is going into a good place that is geared to helping people.”
Jemeika is starting as a Street Ambassador at the MID, but says she has ambitions to work hard and be promoted. “I’m excited,” she told us with a smile.
Today on “Giving Tuesday,” all of us a the Millionair Club Charity want to give thanks to our donors, volunteers, and community partners, who help our “jobs first” solution to homelessness stabilize and rebuild the lives of hundreds of men and women each year. Reggie, pictured below, is just one of the 854 people who received services through the MCC’s supportive employment program last year. THANK YOU SUPPORTERS – without you, success stories like Reggie’s would not be possible.
“If you’re a homeless person, and able-bodied, I don’t know why you don’t get down here to the MCC. I can come in here and take a shower, wash clothes. I can eat. This place is like, the hand that pulled me up, and made sure that once I was standing, that I had everything I needed to stay up. They got you. They got you.”
Reggie became homeless after Hurricane Katrina in 2009. Since that time, he and his family relocated from state to state, hoping that eventually they would find a place that provided a living and felt like home.
Unfortunately for Reggie, his travels never brought him to a place of stability. In April of 2016, he came to Seattle, with just a suitcase. “When I came to Seattle, I had lost everything, literally everything. I was living on the street and had no resources. It was the first time I really, really needed help as an adult person. And I kept thinking, what is it going to take to get me back on my feet?”
Reggie found a place to sleep in a mission, so that solved that problem. But what Reggie really wanted to do, was find a job. He was told to try the Millionair Club Charity.
“I didn’t have the clothes or shoes to work at a proper job. Miss Olivia and Miss Lily at the MCC helped me so much. I mean, they didn’t know me from a can of beans, but they just helped me. It’s not just a job to them – here it’s personal. And there’s a whole team that shows up for me.”
With his work clothes and Food Handler’s card provided by the MCC, Reggie went to work at Century Link stadium. He tried different kinds of jobs – cleaning streets for the Metropolitan Improvement District, and light industrial work at iClick Industries – then found a permanent job as a kitchen manager at the Underground Tour office. But there were still some things that were holding Reggie back from success.
“Living at the mission, I had to carry around my bags with me all day. I was so embarrassed to have to bring my bags to work. But there were all these lockers lining the walls at the MCC. I said, who are they for? They said, they’re for workers like you. This doesn’t sound like a big thing, but considering the situation I was in, it was gigantic.”
Reggie also remembers that it was really hard to work six days a week while sleeping at the mission. The MCC’s employment program told Reggie he could move in to the rooms at the Kasota apartments, but Reggie worried that he didn’t have enough money saved to pay a deposit on the rent. Then he was told that the first month’s rent would be taken care of by the MCC. “My room might be small. I might be able to sit in the middle and touch both walls of my apartment with my hands outstretched. But these are MY walls. Being in my own room is like removing an elephant that was jumping on me every time I tried to get up. I feel normal here. I feel like a normal person. When Angele gave me that key to my room, I was like WOW, these are my walls.”