WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) - Two years ago, Julius Prince found himself homeless and in need of a job.
"There isn't an outward discrimination, but there is an underlying discrimination based on your age. Why would an employer want to hire somebody that is 60, 61 years old, when they can hire someone one who is 24 or 25?" saidPrince.
While visiting a local homeless shelter, Princelearned aboutAimHire, a job placement program withinthe Community Council for the Homeless at Friendship Place.
"We are a targeted job placement program. We identify the individual'sbarriers, and we assess them and we really work with them one-on-one to make sure that they can get back to self sufficiency," said Jermaine Hampton, Employment Director of AimHire.
The Washington Metropolitan Area has more than 13,000 homeless residents, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Located in Northwest Washington, Friendship Placeseeks to empower the homeless by getting them off the street, matching them with a job along with a temporary place to stay. AimHire started in 2008 during the height of the recent recession. The program has matched 52 people with jobs since 2011.
"We saw a need and decided to act, the way we do at Friendship Place, we didn't wait for better times...and that's how during the crisis we started an unemployment program that is actually working," said Jean-Michel Giraud, Executive Director of Friendship Place.
AimHire's workshops allowed Prince to polish his resume, learn what employers were looking for, and practice mock interviews.
"I found the program to be very uplifting," Prince said. He said filling out job applications online was not as effective asworking withAimHire.He recommends the program to other homeless people looking for jobs.
"There are programs in Washington, DC that will help you. You have to seek them out. You have to be patient andwork closely with the staff at those programs," said Prince.
After six months of unemployment, Prince got hiredatthe Courtyard Marriott as a bellman. Meanwhile,hetransitioned out of temporary housing. Currently, he lives with his wife in an apartment.
Princeproves tobe an outstanding worker. He received the Employee of the Month award in May, 2012.
NOTE: Gannett Foundation has given a donation to Community Council for the Homeless at Friendship Place.
Produced/Written by: Elizabeth Jia
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