Downtown Streets Team employs a Work-First model in which members of the homeless community have the opportunity to rebuild their lives through our volunteer work-readiness program. DST is a stepping stone for those members of the homeless community who have committed to change their lives for the better and are ready to transition back into mainstream society. In exchange for food/housing vouchers and services, team members sweep streets, line soccer fields, perform janitorial work, run kitchens, clean environmental habitats, and much more. We coordinate the efforts of local government officials, law enforcement, businesses, and volunteers to create job opportunities and hands-on case management for the homeless. Our participants earn everything they get from our organization; we are not a charity.
Prospective team members demonstrate their commitment to joining DST by attending weekly meetings, which are held at the same time and place each week. At their first meeting, they join the waitlist of other prospective volunteers who are interested in joining DST. Prospective volunteers must attend these weekly meetings each week to preserve their place on the waiting list until they become a team member. This process allows them to learn about the program and associate with current team members, and it allows us to determine if they are committed to changing their lives.
After joining the team, participants can volunteer for up to 20 hours per week, and are rewarded with vouchers that can be used for food, shelter, utilities, transportation, and more. The first goal is to get into shelter or permanent housing. Next is finding permanent employment.
After a 30-day probationary period, volunteers can take part in our Job Search Skills seminar in which they will construct a resume with staff /volunteer professionals, take part in practice interviews, complete a master application, and, ultimately, transition into permanent employment. Volunteers also have the opportunity for promotions based on their skill-sets, leadership abilities, and ambitions.