Dorothy Hayes was one of the first homeless women I met out on the streets back in June of 2010, when the Homeless Initiative started.
Since this time, both Dorothy and her male companion, Robert Toledo, received housing assistance from the Rapid Rehousing grant offered through MHC, Inc. I've learned a few things about homeless recovery in the months that would follow and helping the homeless with housing without additional supportive services doesn't always deliver the long-term sustainable rehabilitation I'm looking for.
After a year-and-a-half from our first encounter, both Dorothy and Robert know that help is just a phone call away when they find themselves in a bind that can't be resolved on their own. And like many fighting the battle against homelessness this bind is unemployment.
So, the three of us - Me, Dorothy, and Robert - pick up the pieces and start all over again with their latest dilemma that has been a high hurdle even for those with marketable skills. Fortunately, I was able to assist Robert almost right away with the Homeless Initiative jobs program recently put into motion. Robert parlayed his bilingual Spanish speaking skills into an on-site sales position with Mobile Auto Glass Repair. He started his new job yesterday in a highly Spanish speaking area on Dale Mabry Hwy where the company was missing out on some Spanish speaking customers.
In the meantime, Dorothy has been working with "The Centre", (formerly The Women's Centre) located at 305 S. Hyde Park Ave in south Tampa. It is here where she sat down one-on-one with employment counselors who helped her brush up her resume, gave her employment and interview tips, listed her on the job search referral, and even gave her some new clothes for job interviews.
The battle against homelessness never really ends, but both Dorothy and Robert at least have the peace of mind knowing now who to call and how to get help.
Deputy Steven Donaldson
Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office
District III Office: (813) 247-0330