Arlington, Va., Sep 26, 2019 / 13:59 pm
A Catholic group in Arlington, Virginia, is committed to helping homeless people, along with others down on their luck, by equipping them with the tools to find work and build careers.
In 2009, “Christians are Networking” (CAN) was launched by Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Arlington. The ministry began during the financial crisis, when unemployment was high, and those who had held steady careers were struggling to find work.
When the economy improved five years ago, CAN partnered with Christ House, a men’s homeless shelter in Alexandria, Virginia, to offer their services to people who have been living on the streets.
While the organization trains for resume-building, networking, interviewing, and computer skills, volunteer coordinator William Schuyler told CNA that the most important service has been helping participants believe in their own worth.
“The thing that we actually brought to the world was not so much that we could tell you how to write the perfect resume; it was that we reminded people of their value as a human being,” he said.
Christ House has enough space for 14 men at a time, and residents may stay in the house for up to one year. Men have their food, rent, and other necessities provided for them. They can also receive support to obtain identification papers.
The residents can also meet weekly with CAN to discuss career strategies like budgeting and networking. During the Wednesday night meeting, participants discuss progress and setbacks on the job hunt. Then, the job-seekers meets individually with volunteers.
Yvonne Horner, a volunteer coordinator for CAN, has been with the organization since it started at Christ House. With a background in human resources, she instructs clients on tax information and company benefits.