Green Hotels Association
    October 2017  


Hotel Provides Continued
Support to Homeless

The Super Bowl is long gone, but a Houston hotel continues to hire the kind of people who helped them through the big game, the formerly homeless. Six months after the big game, there is one guy still smiling. “Man, I’m so blessed with how things are going in my life right now,” said Ricardo Hernandez, who used to be homeless. It was the Harris County sheriff’s office Homeless Outreach team who took him to Open Door Mission.



His life changed, he even joined the choir and just in time for the Super bowl. He scored a job working pool maintenance on the Texas-shaped pool at the new Marriott Marquis. “When this all started happening, I started interacting more with the guests and everything, and so I just wanted to get to another level,” said Hernandez.

After the Super Bowl, he was promoted to bellman and the hotel started hiring more guys like him to set up everything from banquets to big events. “To be honest with you, this is the best job I’ve ever had,” said, Kevin Kayongo, who works on the banquet team. “This job means everything, to be able to plan, to be able to have a future and keep moving forward," said Christopher Ramon, also on the banquet team. "They come to work motivated, not only are they motivating, but being around them motivates the rest of our team,” said Scot Cotton, the hotel's general manager.

A team that kicked off during Super Bowl and is still going with guys who consider it a blessing to be the ones serving guests. "I know God's got something better for these guys," said Hernandez. “It's here, you just have to make that change."

The hotel has four men from the Open Door Mission on staff. They're a part of about 100 people the hotel hired from community-based organizations, which help people get back on their feet.

White, Grace, khou.com/news/local-hotel-provides-opportunity-
support-to-former-homeless/465006015, KHOU.com, August 17, 2017

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Hiring Homeless

Plenty of companies and nonprofits have already gone through the process, and more are expected to follow now that states such as Utah provide tax credits to businesses that employ people who are homeless.
1. Start with the Supporters: Find a local homeless shelter or organization (such as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs) that specializes in helping this population in a holistic way. Many times there are physical or mental needs that an employer isn't equipped to fulfill, though finding the right partner can provide the new employee more of what they need to become a corporate success.
2. Ramp up Responsibilities: Don't assume someone who's homeless is too fragile for a traditional, promotion-driven workload that grows over time. See what works for them.
3. Find the Right Incentives: Experts vary on what the best--translation: enticing but still respectful--incentives might be, though a competitive salary with benefits is still the norm.
Read more.


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