An Overview of Project Place

Project Place, founded in 1967, has long served the formerly incarcerated, at-risk, and homeless population of Boston out of their headquarters at 1145 Washington Street. It began as a safety point for runaway youth which offered shelter and support. By the 1990s, Project Place evolved to meet the growing population of homeless adults as well as those in need of social services and referrals. They also introduced transitional employment services to help clients become self sufficient by gaining real-life job experience. 2017 marked Project Place’s 50th anniversary. Within those 50 years, 67000 people had been served and over 1000 people had been housed. 1.3 million dollars were raised at a gala for future endeavors. 

What is their mission?

Project Place’s mission is to establish a community for homeless, formerly incarcerated, and low-income individuals by providing life skills, educational opportunities, and resources needed for clients to receive (and keep) employment. Their vision is to ultimately see the day where homelessness is eradicated. One of their core values is that success is achieved through stable work and housing. So all employees at Project Place seek to make paths to success for those who come through their doors. In 2018, the recidivism rate of their clients stood at 6%, significantly lower than the national average of 40% proving that Project Place’s methods are highly effective. 

What services do they provide?

In order to ensure clients the smoothest pathway to success, Project Place assigns each person with a case manager who interviews them in an initial intake. This is to determine the client's strengths, weaknesses, interests, and overall goals. The caseworkers are diligent in making sure clients needs and special accommodations are looked into and their path is adjusted to suit them. Homelessness, physical/mental health, and substance abuse are all barriers which formerly incarcerated individuals face when trying to attain work. Project Place offers both help and referrals. Special services for veterans are also available. 

Project Place operates in a six story building, the top two floors are dedicated to housing with fourteen studio apartments. Female clients (with or without children) can also go to Betty’s Place, another housing option run by Project Place and operated above their business quarters. 

One service Project Place is most known for is their classes. The Timothy Smith Network and the Richard and Susan Family foundation have set up classrooms with learning software, SmartBoards and laptops. There are all sorts of classes included within a pathway to graduation including computer literacy, financial literacy, resumes, cover letters, and housing applications. Project Place heavily works with local businesses and employers to keep clients informed when new jobs or housing becomes available. Clients are sometimes given preference or a leg up in the application process. Once a client graduates from Project Place, they can continue to utilize their services for up to two years in order to maintain occupation and housing stability.      

How can I get involved?

There are many ways to express your interest in volunteering with Project Place. Many people going into social work or education fields find volunteering experience such as this beneficial. The educational programs conducted by Project Place instructors are always in need of assistants helping students with computers and assignment guidelines. The computer lab is also a place to volunteer, checking people in and helping them whenever necessary. In addition to classes, workshops are held Tuesdays and Thursdays and feature a variety of life skills. By filling out an application, you can specify what kind of work you would like to do at Project Place, whether it be classroom-based, workshop-based, basic business work or any special project. A volunteer submission form is on their website

Besides volunteering directly inside Project Place, there are opportunities to work with the philanthropic group, Project Place Young Supporters. This organization furthers Project Place’s mission by by spreading awareness about the issues Project Place aims to combat such as homelessness and recidivism. In 2017, PPYS raised 2500 dollars when collaborating with Net Impact Boston on a raffle fundraiser.      

Sources:

https://projectplace.org/about/awards-recognition/

https://projectplace.org/get-involved/ppys/