You Can Help Save the Clark Center
City of Portland budget cuts threaten the future of the Clark Center, our program that helps men get off the streets and into housing. If the Clark Center were to close, we estimate that the wait for shelter would increase to 6 months, and that the waiting list would have as many as 800 to 900 men on it.
There are things that you can do today to help us save the Clark Center.
- Write a letter to Mayor and City Council expressing your support for full funding for the Clark Center. Check out our guidelines for writing a letter.
- Lend your smiling face to our campaign. We are posting pictures online of Clark Center supporters with our signs. Download and print one of your pictures and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org or post it yourself on our Facebook site.
- Publicly endorse us. Yes, you can sign on as one of our public endorsers. You can check out the individuals and organizations who have already signed on here.
- Join our Facebook page. We’re updating it all the time with Clark Center success stories, photos of our supporters, and information about the budget process. You can join us here.
Mayor Hales will release his budget in May. We have this opportunity to demonstrate to him and City Council how much the Clark Center means to Portland, how effective it is, and how much you care. Please join us.
The Save the Clark Center campaign is part of the We Are the Safety Net campaign. Together, we are urging the Mayor and City Council to restore proposed cuts that threaten the safety net for thousands of Portlanders. The Clark Center is one piece of that, but it doesn’t even constitute all of the potential cuts to Transition Projects—let alone to our fellow safety net providers. Local funding shortfalls, combined with federal budget cuts, are placing at risk our most successful programs. Please sign on to both campaigns and do whatever you can.
Job Program Success
Mark Wonser is known around Transition Projects for going the extra mile. He assists with the men’s residential program at Doreen’s Place and takes pride in helping our clients succeed in obtaining housing. Last April, Mark came up with the idea to better connect clients with job opportunities, especially those who were unfamiliar to online job search tools. Mark would scour the internet for job postings in the Portland area, and then compile them into a list to share with clients. He began an email list with a very small number of subscribers. Mark spread the word to current residents in Doreen’s Place and began adding new residents to the list when they checked in to the shelter. Today Mark’s list reaches over 350 clients.
Each email will have a focus for certain fields, such as manufacturing, education, food service, and general labor. Mark compiles listings from online job posting sites and makes a simple list of the descriptions. In addition, Mark has an ongoing post on Craiglist describing the program and asking potential employers to contact him if they are looking to hire.
The month of February was the most successful month for the job program, connecting 15 clients with employment. To date, Mark has helped connect over 120 of Doreen’s Place current and former clients with a job. Mark admits that the number could even potentially be higher, as he only can track the job connections of clients that report back to him.
“A lot of the time I find out someone has an interview just overhearing them talking about it in the shelter,” Mark says. “I also have individuals on my list that have left Doreen’s Place, but still subscribe to the list. In most cases I won’t know if someone gets an interview or finds a job, unless they email me back giving me an update.”
The job program is such a great resource that its postings are currently featured on Transition Projects’ Community Voicemail Program. The CVM program began as a job search resource as well, which was offered to clients in the form of voice mail messages. Clients can sign up for free voicemail accounts, which give them a permanent phone number and voice message box. Just this year, the CVM service was updated to post the same resources, but to a client’s email inbox. A blog was also set up to feature not only job postings, but also community resources that would benefit low income clients. Mark’s collection of job listings is a vital part of this program.
Not only does Mark help connect Doreen’s Place residents with jobs, he takes it one step further, helping them find professional attire to wear to the job interview and other essential items like work boots. All of such items are only possible through generous donations to Transition Projects.
“We always have a need for nice, professional clothing,” says Mark. “Things like belts, shoes, dress shirts and pants are always in demand and go a long way towards helping our clients look and feel prepared for a job interview.”
There are a couple ways to help keep Mark’s program successful. First, our clients are always in need of men’s or women’s professional clothing. Secondly, Mark encourages potential employers to contact him directly to participate. He can be reached at email@example.com.