In 2016, a group of concerned San Joaquin County citizens decided a new approach was necessary to deal with the area’s homelessness crisis.
The 2015 Point in Time Count had showed a more than 100% increase in people living on the street since the 2013 count, and a county task force had been created to deal with the issue. It was clear that there were serious gaps in the community’s response to homelessness, and the only way to address those gaps were with new ideas and new commitments.
A group of local law enforcement officials (including the district attorney, probation chief, public defender, and sheriff), state and local lawmakers, county and city administrators, prominent business-persons, and homeless service providers went on a fact-finding trip to visit a successful nonprofit in New York City called the Doe Fund.
Those who visited Manhattan and Harlem returned to San Joaquin County with a plan: Help the men who fall through the cracks to attain employment, allowing them to pay for their own housing and reducing the likelihood that they would become homeless or engage in criminal activity.
The public-private partnership of Ready to Work was born.
Members of the local business community formed RTW’s board of directors, making personal financial commitments to form the new corporation’s foundation.
RTW was incorporated December, 15, 2016, as a 501c3 nonprofit, and its executive director was hired in January 2017. The mission: reduce the number of homeless people in San Joaquin County by helping men with a history of homelessness or involvement in the criminal justice system rebuild their lives and the lives of their families.
Since its incorporation, Ready to Work has partnered with the San Joaquin County Homelessness Task Force, Community Corrections Partnership, area nonprofits, government agencies, law enforcement, elected officials, and members of the community to marshal the resources necessary to launch a program that will have a long-term, sustainable impact on the community.
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