LA:RISE helped Catalina (left) transition to a career as a peer case manager in social services
While incarcerated, Catalina learned about LA:RISE partner Homeboy Industries and was excited about the opportunity to change her life.

After her release from prison, Catalina faced housing instability and lacked a driver’s license and social security card. She joined Homeboy Industries and interned at Project 180, which taught her critical work and life skills.

Catalina gained lessons in money management that helped her buy a new car. She also attended self-help groups that helped her understand past traumas. But above all, she gained confidence.

“I’m a new and different me, and I love it,” she said.

Now, Catalina is paying it forward. She works full-time, with benefits, as a peer case manager at The People Concern, one of the LA region’s largest social service agencies.

At her new job, Catalina helps the most vulnerable and traumatized members of the community get housing, gain stability and dramatically improve their lives.

Through the LA:RISE and Homeboy Industries collaboration, Catalina was able to avoid becoming homeless, she said. With a potential promotion on the horizon and a new goal of buying a house, she said “My future looks a lot brighter.”

“Inside the Employment Movement to Address Homelessness in Southern California”

An estimated 300 homeless employers are scheduled to attend “Tapping the Talents of Unique Populations” on February 13, 2019, a forum held by EWDD partner Goodwill Southern California, operator of the City’s Northeast Los Angeles WorkSource Center. EWDD Updates shared success stories from the Los Angeles Regional Initiative for Social Enterprise (LA:RISE), a program that recognizes the “untapped talent in individuals experiencing homelessness, as well as sharing strategies that help individuals get back to work with the dignity and respect that every person in our community deserves.” EWDD and the Roberts Enterprise Development Fund are leadership partners in the program, along with the LA County Department of Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services and multiple social enterprises.

Learn more about the various programs and benefits offered through EWDD Employment Services and WorkSource Centers.

This story is part of the EWDD UPDATES from the week of February 4, 2019. Read this issue and more.