create / 2015

Building a Better LA - Helping to End Skid Row through Jobs

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by Union Rescue Mission

At Union Rescue Mission, we propose that jobs are the first step to financial stability for those experiencing homelessness on the streets of Los Angeles. The program we are proposing for this Grants Challenge is our Jobs Program, which helps the men and women we serve do just that – find good, living wage jobs. We propose that as recipients of this $100,000 grant we can expand our current program—and double the number of men and women securing employment (currently at 75) to 150 during 2016.


In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • Skid Row

How do you plan to use these resources to make change?

  • Expand a pilot or a program

How will your proposal improve the following “Create” metrics?

  • Jobs per capita
  • Gini coefficient
  • Unemployment rates (and opportunities) for the formerly incarcerated (Dream Metric)

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to create.

Los Angeles County has 366 jobs for every 1,000 adults. But for the men and women who live on Skid Row, the chances of ever finding employment is far less. In fact, most of the people who come through our doors have simply given up trying. As reported by Mayor Garcetti in his Sept. 22 address to the City—the homeless problem is enough to declare a “state of emergency” for homelessness. In fact, Central City LA, or Skid Row, now has the largest population of individuals experiencing homelessness in the State and Country.

At URM, we believe that every person deserves the chance to find, secure and maintain employment to provide for themselves and their families. Over the last 18 months, URM piloted a Jobs Program to help guests prepare for, find and keep jobs. 156 men and women have found living-wage jobs through this project. Our idea is to double our annual goals for job placement over the next year.

This idea will: 1) expand our job readiness services; 2) create new opportunities to gain work experience and apprenticeships; and 3) build a robust network of employers and training partners to connect our guests with jobs.

This Grants Challenge will build our capacity to serve more people by hiring two part time employment assistants to join our team, allowing us to fuel further job placement and growth. Our team will work to expand opportunities for more guests to take part in skills training programs through our partners, access educational support from URM’s Learning Center, and receive coaching from our team. Additionally, our team will work alongside our corporate and business partners to expand our network of job placement and training partners—creating a vibrant networking tool for our men and women to use as they search for just the right job. We anticipate that as a result, over the next 12 months, we will place 150 men and women in jobs.

At URM, we believe that jobs are the key to a future and a hope for the more than 40,000 men and women who are currently experiencing homelessness on the streets of LA County. What better way to transform our city than to provide a tangible pathway from the streets, and from under the bridges, from cars and motels, from hopelessness and despair–through jobs.

Our idea is simple, but it works, and now we want to expand. Our dream for LA in 2050, is a place where everyone has the chance of a job, food, and a roof over their head.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.

This project will be evaluated as an on-going part of URM’s commitment to measuring and tracking progress and impact. Outcome measurements tracked will include: number of men and women participating in the program; number of men and women completing training; number of men and women placed in jobs; and the number of men and women maintaining jobs for at least 3 to 6 months. Specific measurements include: 90% of those who participate in readiness program will complete training; more than 150 clients will find employment in 2016; the number of employers working within URM’s employment network will increase by 20% in 2016.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money (financial capital)
  • Publicity/awareness (social capital)
  • Network/relationship support