The Adkins Program Works Well with Homeless Persons
Homelessness is a terrible human condition, but what makes it worse is the sense of hopelessness and helplessness that often accompanies it. It is thus very important to help homeless persons achieve a new sense of direction and to regain their confidence in their own self-worth.
The Adkins Program has helped to do just that for thousands of homeless persons in many agencies serving them. The group setting provides emotional support. The group contract clarifies expectations, The opportunity to talk freely without fear of ridicule and to have one's feelings and ideas listened to within a structured setting liberates the spirit.
The systematic exploration of one's personal history to find patterns of interests, abilities, values and personality preferences helps a person realize how much he/she already knows that can benefit him or her. The interesting, positive learning activities in the program build new knowledge, new competencies, and new insights, and give the person a sense of forward progress.
The way the Adkins Program requires individuals to demonstrate how the new learning translates into positive action gives confidence in one's ability to make it. The detailed feedback and practice gives individuals the chance to refine new skills so that they can use them effectively in Choosing, Preparing for, Getting, and Holding a Job. And then the Job can lead to a Career. The expectation of results through effort promotes a strong sense of personal responsibility for self-development and employment.
Homeless Agencies Find the Adkins Approach Very Helpful
Agencies serving homeless individuals and families have made good use of the Adkins program. The combination of psychological and educational approaches in the Adkins Program is frequently described by staff as very helpful.
One pioneering agency, the Hope Program in Brooklyn, NY has had the Adkins Career Program as one of its core programs for over 10 years. Two thirds of its participants are still working. This is an amazing success story since homeless individuals often suffer from multiple problems of hopelessness, physical and/or emotional illness, drug abuse, marital and family difficulties etc. A dedicated staff and other program components such as internships, psychiatric evaluations, literacy and vocational training are also part of the mix of services that together with the Adkins Program gets results.
Several other agencies serving homeless persons in Boston, in Memphis, in Queens and elsewhere show a similar pattern of success.
This is a classic instance of the value of the adage, "Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime." Clearly, soup kitchens and shelters, though necessary are not a sufficient means for a society to deal with the problem of homelessness.
In a study of 124 homeless persons enrolled in the Hope Program over a three year period, the results were impressive. 75% were employed following graduation. 25% of those employed, also went on for education or training. Moreover the job retention rate at the 90 days mark was 89% for those who did not have children living at home and 75% for those with children living at home. This should be compared with a 10% retention rate for welfare clients in the same city (New York) as reported in an editorial in the New York Times. The Hope Program has recently won a number of national awards for the effectiveness of its program model. It received an exemplary program award from the Enterprise Foundation and the New York Foundation for Women.
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