Gilles works hard to find work

Jul 21, 2015 by

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It takes a little work to find work.

Gilles, a recent client of Shepherds of Good Hope, had the determination, but needed some help when he arrived at Shepherds of Good Hope a few days into the New Year. His goal was to find a job but he knew he couldn’t do it alone.

After spending a few days at another shelter, he realized he needed the type of help that was going to find him a job. Gilles had been working in the multimedia industry in Manitoba for several years before losing his job. With no job and no money, Gilles had to give up his apartment.

For 10 years, Gilles lived what he described as the “bohemian lifestyle.”

Eventually he made his way to Ottawa and ended up at SGH. Within a few days, he met with a case manager who quickly realized Gilles was serious about finding work. So he introduced Gilles to the Worker’s Program.

In this program, Gilles had access to the Internet on one of the two computers in the worker’s lounge. Some might wonder how important it is to have Internet access. Shepherds of Good Hope realizes it’s key. Think about it. In 2015, how does a person look for a job, find an apartment without access to the Internet? Little of that information appears in daily newspapers any more. And other than the library, there are few places where someone with limited funds can access a computer and the Internet.

Having access to a computer also allowed Gilles to update his resume with the help of his case manager. He searched for local jobs. After 10 days, Gilles found a full-time job at a restaurant.

But the Worker’s Program did more than give Gilles access to a computer. Since he was still living at the men’s shelter, he needed a quiet place to sleep. And because he was working shift work, he sometimes needed to be able to sleep in between shifts. Normally, people who sleep at the shelter have to leave during the day so that staff can clean up the sleeping area. But thanks to this special program, Gilles knew he could get a bed when he needed one.

On his days off, Gilles was back in the worker’s lounge using the computer to find a place to live. He could print out addresses of the places he wanted to check out. Still, it was difficult. Landlords usually want first and last month’s rent. Again, Gilles’ case worker helped him get some financial assistance from the City of Ottawa that covered off first and last month’s rent.

Gilles’ went from being homeless and living at Shepherds of Good hope to finding a full-time job and suitable housing in less than five weeks.

Gilles remains in contact with the team at SGH, and has asked for the opportunity to volunteer his time here with kitchen tasks and entertainment possibilities.

Not every homeless person is ready to take the step of finding a job, but when they are, the Worker’s Program is there to provide the tools and support.

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