Corporate Volunteers Learn Lessons In The Bronx

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The result, according to McDonald, is a mentality that if we give people housing we've suddenly solved homelessness. On the contrary, he believes a more holistic approach is needed. One that, at the minimum, provides a paying job. 

New York City — which has provided millions of dollars in funding to The Doe Fund through various contracts — has rated the charity "fair" to "good" on its most recent performance evaluations, according to >The New York Times. At its worst, it has received two designations of "poor" under the quality rubric, and at its best received an "excellent" on a large contract from the Department of Homeless Services.

Dr. Bruce Western, a sociology professor at Harvard University, conducted a study of the Ready, Willing & Able program and found that graduates of the program were 60 percent less likely to be convicted of a felony three years after exiting Doe Fund. Even for people that didn't complete it, the effects were profound: if they completed the first five months of the program, participants were 56 percent less likely to commit a violent crime three years later.

It's not just good for the participants, either: it's good for the city. An independent audit found that for every dollar utilized in the program, New York taxpayers saved $3.60 in "costs associated with emergency city services and the criminal justice system." 

The fact that 54 percent of Ready, Willing & Able men have children, 64 percent have been incarcerated and 40 percent entered the program without their high school diploma make those numbers pretty encouraging.

The average starting wage of those who finish the program is $10.80 an hour. Norat, who taught himself to read and write in jail, now has his own apartment, works as a licensed pest control professional and proudly brags that he is a taxpaying member of society.

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