One of the biggest issues among the homeless and the vulnerable is employment. Over the past several years, the city of Atlanta has had a steady number of homeless people, roughly 3,500. However, due to the pandemic, there was a spike in the number of homeless people over the past two years, and many were due to loss of employment. Due to COVID-19, millions of people across the country lost their jobs and could no longer afford to pay rent and support their families. Especially those who are vulnerable or do not have the resources to adequately search for jobs are at significant risk. Having a stable source of income and employment is one of the most important factors in a higher quality of life.
Recently, the Southern Company Gas Foundation has generously offered a grant to the Asian American Resource Foundation (AARC) to support the Job Placement Program. The Southern Company Gas Foundation gives millions of dollars in grants each year to organizations that promote similar values and work to improve the lives of the surrounding communities that they serve. The Charitable Foundation is able to provide support to these organizations solely through shareholder dollars by Southern Company Gas. The different values that the Foundation supports include the following: Social Justice, Arts & Education, Economic Development, Energy Assistance, and Environment. The Foundation has supported 55 communities in grants across the Southeast in the United States and has a total giving of $32 million.
The Asian American Resource Center is a hub for the Asian population in Gwinnett County, which has served since its inception 25 years ago. While AARC has initially started as an agency for advocacy and representation of the Asian community to better acclimate and blend into American society, over the years, AARC has introduced programs that assist individuals and families beyond the scope of cultural acclimation. Some of the programs that AARC has introduced that impact the community includes Naturalization classes, ESL classes, GED programs, Homelessness Prevention, Rapid ReHousing, Mental Health Counseling, Financial Management workshops, Life Skills classes, Resume writing, and an After-School Education program.
With the grant that the Southern Company Gas Foundation has provided, AARC is able to launch its newest program, the Job Placement Program (JPP). JPP is a program that was created to help those who are unemployed, underemployed, women, people of color, and those who do not have access to resources and equip them with the tools and support they need to secure a job position to achieve self-sufficiency. AARC is currently partnering with employers to direct and match our clients to their job openings. We work with our clients to equip them with the readiness required for an array of opportunities based on our partner employers’ requirements. AARC will be the epicenter of coordinating and creating a platform and will be the one-stop shop for clients until they are stable on secure a career track.