A Day in My Shoes: Homeless Initiative Program

Matt Holland, Employee-Employer Support Specialist

Did you know that our Homeless Initiative Program (HIP) serves approximately 3,000 homeless individuals each year? They also provide employment and training services to help homeless individuals achieve their career and educational goals.

We reached out to Matt Holland from the HIP Employment and Training Team to learn more. Matt serves as the Job Developer to help connect HIP’s client’s with employers that need positions filled. Matt has been with HIP for over a year and loves using his employment knowledge to connect others to fulfilling career choices. 

How did you get started at HIP?

Matt: I started volunteering in 2010 conducting mock interview sessions with their participants and speaking with the classes regarding the Hospitality workplace environment and expectations.  As I gained more experience volunteering, I found out more information regarding all the services provided by HIP and was immediately drawn to how they connected with the community to provide such important services to those in need.  Through my volunteering, I became aware that an employment position had come available and immediately applied in order to utilize my skill set in a different fashion.

Walk us through a day in your shoes at HIP?

Matt: I call on employers that are current partners to ensure that our client’s are progressing in their careers as well as adding value to the organizations they work for. Additional coaching regarding employment challenges and navigating co-worker dynamics are a large part of what the client works on once we assist them gaining employment. For many, this is an anxiety producing environment if they have been not working for several years. In addition, I also call on employers to develop new partnerships for our employment program to utilize as connections for our job seekers to take advantage of. 

What services do the employment team provide?

Matt: We provide a week long workshop on employment expectations, environment changes, communication styles, interviewing techniques, addressing criminal history in an interview as well as how to effectively search, target and achieve the job.  We offer a structured job search program incorporating three days of computer lab work, on foot follow up as well as over the phone job inquiry. Job coaches and strategies are available to each client as well as leads and partnerships. 

What makes working at HIP so rewarding?

Matt: There is nothing as rewarding as seeing an individual who has struggled with different barriers walk through the doors with their goals achieved. There is an aura around that individual that communicates their new position without a word being said. The smile and immediate confidence that is evident is an amazing thing to witness.

On Thursday September 12th, from 9am to 2pm, the Employment and Training team will be at the Veteran Stand Down at AMVETS local post 99. Stand Down provides a variety of services and goods for homeless and near-homeless veterans and their families. The HIP team will be disseminating information on their services for Employment and Training as well as other services that HIP provides.
For more information about the event, please contact HVAF at events@hvaf.org or 317-951-0688.

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