Organization Removes Employment Obstacles For Homeless

January 10, 2018 10:24 PM

Mattie Libbett had been homeless for two years and was in desperate need of a change.

The transformation she was looking for came through an organization known as Small Sums.


The St. Paul nonprofit helped over 600 people in 2017, and expects to lend a helping hand to over 700 this year.

Libbett had gotten a job and needed help with clothing and a bus pass to get to there.

Small Sums came through.

"It's like things (are) looking up," she said. "And you feel hopeful. I guess they were hopeful tears."    

A 2015 Wilder Foundation survey found 27 percent of adults experiencing homelessness were employed at the time of the survey, and 14 percent were employed full-time.

Terre Thomas, the agency's executive director, said all this is being done on a budget of just over $400,000 in donations.

She said her agency provides black Dickey pants, steel toe boots for construction, no-slip shoes plus a bus card to get to and from work.

They will also help pay re-certification fees for certain jobs.

"We survey our clients to find out where they're at, what their housing situation is and what their employment situation is," Thomas said. "And of the clients we survey, 64 percent are in stable housing. They're no longer homeless and they're still working."

Libbett said being homeless showed her there are no guarantees in life.

But with faith and a helping hand, a person can bounce back from anything.




Todd Wilson

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