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Economic Development

This novel collaborative filled a major gap in Albany, NY's efforts to help the homeless.

Pathways Program
An Omaha hospital has teamed up with a transitional housing agency to help Harrington Homes residents get on the road to economic independence.

JOBS NOW! A Regional Housing, Economic Development and Support Services Collaborative, Albany, NY


When social service agencies and housing providers in Albany, New York discovered a lack of initiatives in the community to prepare homeless people for jobs, they started a regional collaborative -- Jobs Now!

The collaborative takes a comprehensive approach to economic and job development services for the homeless. It helps nonprofit organizations produce more affordable housing and create new employment strategies for the homeless. And it provides technical assistance to local public and private agencies which deliver support services to people striving to maintain their homes and jobs.

Job Now! sponsors include Rehabilitation Support Services, Inc., a nonprofit agency which sponsors housing, social services, psychiatric treatment and vocational rehabilitation programs. Another sponsor, Homeless and Travelers' Aid, provides outreach, support services and links to housing and employment for the homeless or formerly homeless.

A third partner, Catholic Charities' housing office, offers housing, tenant services and job referrals for the disadvantaged or disabled. And the Albany City Department of Housing and Community Development addresses the region's need for housing and economic opportunity.

As founders of Jobs Now!, the partners have broken down the barriers that once kept their programs separated and instead focus on providing three essential supports for the homeless to get them back on the road to self sufficiency: housing, jobs and support services.

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Pathways Program, Omaha, NE


  • Harrington Homes
  • Bergan Mercy Medical Center

Transitional housing, by definition, is a place to live only temporarily. People in transitional housing are on their way - from someplace that was unhealthy for themselves or their children, toward something not yet quite defined.

Harrington Homes provides transitional housing in Omaha, Nebraska, with nine homes scattered in the community. Harrington Homes joined with Bergan Mercy Medical Center to create the Pathways Program. Like programs at other transitional housing projects, Pathways participants take life skills classes, learn about educational opportunities and financial assistance and job training. Harrington Homes residents also set personal goals aimed at economic independence.

But Pathways adds another dimension that isn't standard fare. Harrington Homes residents go to work in a six month paid position at Bergan Mercy, with a 350-bed hospital, 250-bed nursing home and outpatient clinics. On the job, regular Bergen Mercy staff take the temporary employees under their wing, coaching them as they refine job skills and offering support and insight about values that are upheld in the work place.

The work schedules are flexible and positions can be adapted for job sharing. Pathways participants can also work at other jobs outside Bergan Mercy to supplement their income.

Bergan Mercy's human services department leads the initiative, serving as the primary liaison with Harrington Homes and recruiting Bergen Mercy mentors for the Pathway participants.

As of 1997, seven residents had joined Pathway and four had been hired permanently as full-time employees by Bergen Mercy after completing the six month program. One Harrington Homes resident, hired as a pharmacy technician, later enrolled at nearby Creighton University as a pharmacy student.

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