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Denver Day Works Finds Work for People Experiencing Homelessness

A Denver homeless work program is off to a strong start since launching in 2016. The Denver Day Works program launched in November of last year to address a pressing need: provide a low-to-no barrier work experience for people experiencing homelessness.

Nearly 40-percent of people experiencing homelessness are employed in some manner, and there are many more seeking employment. However, homeless individuals seeking employment face significant and disproportionate barriers in finding work. To that end, Denver Human Services partnered with Bayaud Enterprises to launch Denver Day Works. Bayaud Enterprises is a Denver organization founded in 1969 that has helped countless people overcome these barriers, find jobs, and escape the cycle of homelessness.

The Day Works program is on track to meet and exceed its goals. The first year goal for the program is to find half-day and full-day employment opportunities for 150 individuals that lead to longer-term employment opportunities. Over its initial six-months, Denver Day Works has helped 109 individuals find jobs, with 62 securing extended employment. More than 4,200 hours of work and $50,000 in wages have been paid to people involved in the program. Participants have found work with 42 public and private employers, including with Denver Parks and Recreation, Denver Public Works, King Soopers, Napa Auto Parts, and Colorado Petroleum. The initial pilot program is funded through a partnership between Denver's Road Home, Denver Public Works, Denver Parks & Recreation and Denver Human Services.

People participating in Denver Day Works are paid at the end of each work day, with banking assistance and financial planning made available free of charge. When necessary, additional job readiness and training services are provided prior to placement. Beyond the benefits of greater financial security, the chance to work and earn money is also deeply empowering.

“Besides the fact that they are able to afford things that they haven’t been able to afford like a haircut or food or basic necessities, the thing you notice most is their confidence level changes and they’re filled with a sense of purpose again. When you’re on the streets that is very hard to find,” says Molly Ream, Road to Work program manager at Bayaud Enterprises. “I think when you have something to go to and at the end of the day there’s a meaningful reward, it changes who you are in terms of how you’re adding value to life. You can’t put a price on that.”

More information about Denver Day Works:

Call Bayaud Enterprises at 303-830-6885 to learn about work opportunities or to become a future employer or work site.