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Edmonton website connects homeless community with employment

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WATCH ABOVE: Boyle Street Ventures has launched a website connecting members of the homeless community to those looking for temporary workers. Slav Kornik has the story – Jun 8, 2018

Boyle Street Ventures has a launched a website to help its clients join the workforce.

The website, hiregood.ca, connects Boyle Street Ventures’ employees with employers looking to hire temporary workers.

Ventures is a social enterprise developed by Boyle Street Community Services to hire homeless Edmontonians who are eager to find employment. The new website is another tool towards that goal.

“It’s a simple, cost-effective way for people in the Edmonton area to not only get their tasks done around their home, but also, in a very direct way, create meaningful employment opportunities for people who, for a variety of reasons, don’t have access to the formal job market but really want to work,” said Boyle Street Ventures general manager Jordan Reiniger.

READ MORE: Boyle Street moving company expands to include cleaning services and food truck

The services provided through the website gear towards homeowners who are looking for work to be done around their homes.

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“There’s a popular myth out there that people who are experiencing homelessness don’t want to work or they’re lazy, but that couldn’t be further from the truth,” Reiniger said.

“People do want to work, but they just have barriers to the formal job market. It’s people that come up to us all the time saying, ‘Hey, do you have some opportunities? Do you have some work I can do?'”

READ MORE: ‘It’s an opportunity for me’: Moving company puts Edmonton’s most vulnerable to work

Ventures is using a mentorship model that allows employees to get on-the-job training and guarantees a standard of service.

“The feedback we’ve got from our customers so far is that quality has been there and they’re really excited to engage in this process with us.”

It provides work experience and skills that will hopefully lead to a permanent job for those who are part of the program.

“We’ve providing the employment opportunity, we’re providing on the job training opportunities through our mentorship program, and also safety tickets and different things they might need to bridge them into that next level in their career,” Reiniger said.

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Mary Benoit was homeless for a year before she joined the Ventures program, which led to her finding employment and getting off the streets.

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“It basically changed my life around 180 degrees, considering I was living out on the streets,” Benoit said. “Now I have a house, I have a car, I have a horse, I have pets. I’m kind of back to where I was before I was homeless.”

The 31-year-old now serves as a mentor, helping others who are in the same position she was in not long ago.

“When I was homeless, I didn’t have anybody that was mentoring me. I was basically figuring it out all on my own, trying to basically just survive,” Benoit said. “So at least then if I’m there for other people, they can at least have some kind of start and maybe get themselves back on their feet and back to maybe where they were.”

Reiniger said the feedback on the new website has been positive so far. It launched on Tuesday.