Job fair aims to break barriers for the homeless community

Hannah Maharrey is the chairperson for the City of Tupelo Homelessness Task ForceĀ 

Job searching is nearly impossible when faced with homelessness. This prompted the City of Tupelo Homelessness Task Force, Family Resource Center of North Mississippi, and All Saints Episcopal Church to sponsor their first resource and job fair. This event is on August 30, 2018, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at All Saints Episcopal Church and will provide opportunities for those who lack the basics needed for finding work. Hannah Maharrey, chairperson for the City of Tupelo’s Homelessness Task Force, noticed the need for this event due to speaking with those she serves. “I’ve had a number of homeless individuals ask me about jobs this year. I’ve tried to help each one on an individual basis, but it can be very difficult due to many not having transportation.” The new transit system in Tupelo will provide transportation for many to get to jobs that were previously out of reach. “That’s going to remove a huge barrier for anyone in our at-risk community.” The availability of transportation inspired Maharrey. “I said, ‘Let’s have a job fair. Let’s invite vendors and organizations to the job fair who will understand the specific demographic that we’re trying to reach.’ And that includes some who may not have a clear background, clear employment record, or clear criminal record.” This resource and job fair is a way for those who want to get back on their feet to do so. Participants include the WIN Job Center, Mississippi Department of Employment Services, ICC Belden’s Workforce Development Program and Adult Basic Education Program, and staffing agencies such as Manpower, Snelling Staffing Services and Diverse Staffing. Family Resource Center will also provide representatives from their GED Program, Life Skills Program and Addiction Education Program. Maharrey also noted that representatives from the Social Security office and possibly a representative from the DVM will be at the event. “Identification is a huge hurdle for the homeless. If you cannot prove you are who you say you are, it is practically impossible to get a job, to get services or to get housing.” Mississippi United to End Homelessness (MUTEH), Life Core, Shelter and Assistance in Family Emergencies (S.A.F.E.), and Work 2 Life will all be involved to aid in different ways. This includes building resumes, prepping for interviews, providing interview attire, and even taking participants to CNK Barber College after the event to get their hair cut if desired. “This event is for those who have barriers and hurdles to employment we are trying to address. One of the keys to alleviating homelessness is employment. And then how do you get quality employment? Through education and workforce development programs. So, we’re just trying to loop everything together,” Maharrey said. “Even if we affect change for one person, I count that as a success.” As of June 1, 2018, there are 44 homeless people in Tupelo, down from 78 in January. There are plans for a larger resource and job fair in January of 2019. Vendors and organizations can contact Hannah Maharrey at for more information.

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