PHILADELPHIA – The City of Philadelphia’s Office of Homeless Services (OHS) today announced the launch of “Help for the Hurdles,” a new initiative to give people living in homeless shelters transportation and childcare to make it easier for them to get jobs.

“Help for the Hurdles,” as the name suggests, is a commonsense solution that provides immediate and direct assistance to help people overcome two of the most common obstacles to working – transportation and childcare.

“People experiencing homelessness want and need a living wage,” said Marybeth Gonzales, Deputy for Policy, Planning, and Performance Management at the Office of Homeless Services. “This program leverages public-private partnerships to give people the support they need to succeed in reaching their financial and housing goals.”

Funded by the federal CARES Act, “Help for the Hurdles” offers connections to jobs through First Step Staffing with wages up to $16 per hour in warehouse stocking, light-industrial, and food processing. It also connects people with various certification programs and financial literacy. Program participants must be emergency shelter residents, employable, and rapid-rehousing eligible.

Help for the Hurdles will start on a rolling cycle. Some participants will begin working as early as this month.

Spring Point Partners, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Office of Early Childhood Education, PA CareerLink, University of Pennsylvania Fels Institute of Government, and Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority are also program partners.

“This is a great example of a community-wide effort. It’s simple: higher paying jobs pay the rent,” said OHS Director Liz Hersh. “We are grateful for these incredible opportunities that provide much-needed services.”

Connecting people to employment and increasing their income are pillars of the OHS strategic plan Roadmap to Homes, which is available for download online.

Learn more about “Help for the Hurdles” with this informational flyer, which is available for download online in English and Spanish.