Non-profit group hopes to employ homeless, high risk youth

CBC News, December 19, 2015- A non-profit organization helping Saskatoon's financially distressed is set to open in the new year.

Only Moving Up aims to create jobs for people who have fallen into financial trouble, including people who are homeless and high risk youth.

Darcy White is the executive director of the organization. She, along with two other community members, developed the idea of creating a business that will employ those unable to find a job. The work will include moving, packing, cleaning services, yard maintenance and snow removal. White said there will also be less physically demanding jobs available as well, such as office administration and dispatch work.

White said applicants have to be initially referred by the Salvation Army, the United Way, the Light House or the Saskatchewan Parole Board.

"We'll bring them onboard [and] they'll get full-time employment of $16 to $18 an hour. It'll obviously cover the cost of living in this city," said White. "We'll [also] help them provide security deposits, first month's rent — anything they need."

Additional supports would include things like debt counselling and help with legal issues.

The organization hopes to provide up to 30 full-time positions, for six months at a time per employee.

At Only Moving Up, an employee will get help in a variety of ways to essentially get them organized. That means tending to legal issues, resolving debt, renewing identification cards and opening bank accounts.

The following six months will be used to plan out what happens next for the employee. That could mean help to find new employment, signing up for job training programs or applying for more education.

"We're just the base; we're just the open door," said White. "Get them all straightened out and then move forward."

As well, throughout their time as employees, staff will be required to volunteer five hours per week with senior citizen and domestic violence victims groups.

Through personal contributions, sponsorship packages for local business and crowdfunding, Only Moving Up is looking to raise a total of $65,000 to get the program up and running for Jan. 4, 2016.

"I've seen a lot of guys that really want do better — get out of the drugs, get out of the issues that they have — and it's just a matter of them not having someone to really do that for them or open the door for them to do it. So we sort of just take everything away and give them a fair shot," said White.

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