October is here and it’s time to celebrate. Why you ask? Because it’s Ready to Work month! And this year we have more to celebrate than ever!

 It’s the third anniversary of Ready to Work House in Boulder;

We are more than doubling our impact in Metro Denver to include our second location- Ready to Work Aurora;

And, most importantly, we are celebrating the hard work and tenacity of our graduates at Ready to Work Graduation on October 10!

We also have a Challenge. A chance for you to help transform lives.

Thanks to the support of our generous Challenge Donors, donations of up to $94,000 in the month of October will be matched dollar for dollar to support Ready to Work. Are you in?

Why $94,000 you ask?

94 is our new magic number for Ready to Work. Ready to Work Boulder has capacity for 44 adults transitioning out of homelessness at all times. Through our social enterprises we employ all 44 of these hardworking, motivated trainees; at Ready to Work House we provide a safe, affordable housing community for 34 men and 10 women to live and stabilize; and, through our incredible support team, we provide individualized case plan for each and every one of the 44 people we work with.

Ready to Work Boulder has demonstrated incredible impact and has become a model for the region.

Later this year with the addition of Ready to Work Aurora we will add 50 more trainees, more than doubling our capacity to 94 in metro Denver.

Thus 94!

With your continued support of Ready to Work Boulder this October, you are helping us lay the foundation for our movement, our chance to demonstrate in our own community and beyond what is possible through a work-first, opportunity-focused solution.

As a long-time supporter of our work, you know that Ready to Work not only transforms lives by offering individuals experiencing homelessness a job, a place to live, and a community of support, you also know that we offer the community a significant return on investment. You know that Ready to Work is challenging the status quo and bringing fresh energy and innovative interventions to end homelessness.

Make a generous donation in the month of October and your donation will be matched!

For people experiencing homelessness, there is no standard story – there are themes – no single path to the streets.

Homelessness is complex, confusing, even shameful, in a country as plentiful as ours.

Yet for many on the streets the solution could be simple. 

For the more than 20 years I have been working in this field, I have witnessed the power of opportunity transform individual lives… and the fabric of communities.

Opportunity is more than a paycheck. Opportunity is more than a housing voucher.

Opportunity is not a hand out, but a hand up.

At Bridge House, our Ready to Work model is that opportunity.

Ready to Work is a paying job, a place to live, and a community of support. A simple – yet incredibly effective – solution to homelessness.

I am asking you to show your support for our opportunity focused mission and make a generous donation today.

Ready to Work is unique because it’s a holistic approach; an approach that starts with work, and rounds out with housing and a community of support.  We do this because we know addressing only a single aspect of homelessness alone won’t break the cycle.

  • We know more than 80% of people experiencing homelessness are unemployed. So, we know that providing employment opportunities is crucial.
  • We also know that access to affordable housing options are scarce especially for someone with a spotty rental history;
  • We all know, as human beings, that without supportive people in our lives we would be lost.

Let me tell you about just a few folks I know.

Nessa, who found herself on the streets after losing her husband to illness and then being crushed by a pile of medical bills.

Kyle, who used drugs since his twenties on a road of addiction that ended in divorce leaving him under a bridge in January of 2016.

Krystella, released from three years in prison to the streets, looking to regain custody of her 7-year old son.

Gilbert, a tradesman and chronic alcoholic who lost it all.

Nessa, Kyle, Krystella and Gilbert, all different.

Yet, all wonderful in their own way, all successful Ready to Work participants, all back on their feet and thriving.

Despite their different paths to the streets, our model worked for each of them.

Your donation to Bridge House is your chance to help us continue to make a difference in the lives of individuals like Nessa, Kyle, Krystella and Gilbert.

Our practical approach is best compared to a three-legged stool. 

First, we begin with work.

At Ready to Work we run two social enterprises – a landscaping business and a catering business. They are market-based and provide real jobs.

Putting people to work right away allows them to earn a wage, build a resume, and, most importantly, empowers them with purpose.

When Ready to Work trainees put on their uniform they belong to something, they are trusted for the first time in a while, maybe ever. For the community our businesses offer a positive interaction with people transitioning out of homelessness.

My favorite moments are when we cater an event and the guests ask who the caterer is. With our answer, they find out that people transitioning out of homelessness made the delicious food they are raving about.

We need your support. We need you to reaffirm your belief in our programing and donate today.

Second, we provide housing. We do this by repurposing commercial buildings into dormitories.

This is both practical and strategic.

The cost of developing a Ready to Work House is approximately $80k a unit, compared to $350k for traditional housing in metro Denver. We’re able to keep room and board low at less than $400 a month, so Ready to Work residents can begin to save money.

Third, we offer supportive services that round out the stool. Residents encourage and inspire one and other. They hold each other accountable for sobriety and to their treatment plans and goals. 

3 out of 4 people who come to Ready to Work graduate. 3 out of 4, that’s 75%. 

Help us meet, or even exceed, our challenge by making a donation today. Help us end homelessness one person at a time.

Thanks to Ready to Work, over one hundred of formerly homeless people in our community are now employed, housed, drug and alcohol free — they are off the streets forever.

Imagine what it would be like if this were the case in every city in our country.

We are helping individuals to transform their own lives and we are helping communities to do the same.

The return on investment for a community is profound.

In metro Denver it costs an average of $45,000 EVERY year per adult to manage homelessness. That’s for shelter, jail, hospital.

Yet Ready to Work is a ONE TIME cost of $30,000 to break the cycle….and, the best part of this investment is a half is a wage to the Ready to Work participant earned through our social enterprises.

But the true ROI are the people helped, the families repaired, and the communities strengthened.

Today Nessa makes and sells her own jewelry.

Kyle is an electrician making a living at a well-known security firm.

Krystella has reunited with her son and Gilbert is a lead supervisor on the Ready to Work outdoor crew.

The power of opportunity is real. The power of opportunity transforms lives.

You are part of our Ready to Work movement. It is because of your partnership that we are able to combine paid work, with housing, and supportive services and, through this holistic approach, break the cycles of homelessness.

Our model is innovative and cost effective. We require investment from donors like you to help drive our innovation. While our social enterprises earn revenue to support work-related expenses such as wages, it is thanks to your support that we are able to provide the supportive services such as case management, sobriety support, financial coaching and aftercare services that are fundamental to the long-term success of our Ready to Work trainees and graduates.

This October please affirm your belief in the transformative power of opportunity. Make a generous gift to Ready to Work this October and have it matched dollar for dollar up to $94,000.

As an added bonus, our October Challenge sponsor – Walters and Hogsett Fine Jewelers– has donated two $1,000 gift certificates. All donors who give in $1,000 or more in October toward the $94,000 Challenge will be entered to win!

Thank you for being part of our solution, thank you for being part of the Ready to Work movement.

Sincerely,

Isabel McDevitt – CEO – Bridge House

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