Today nearly 60,000 people are living without a permanent home in Southern California. To assist the homeless, the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters is offering the “Brother’s Keeper” program.
Alicia Jimenez, 49, was living on the streets with her daughters for more than three years according to ABC7 News. Jimenez said that her home had been lost to fraud.
“In 2013, a real estate man said he would modify my payment, but he stole my house,” Jimenez said.
Jimenez and her daughters would sleep in parks; on benches; even the back of restaurants in a small donated trailer, according to the news.
But one day, Jimenez discovered the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters at a community college where one of her daughters had helped her enroll. Jimenez immediately asked about the Brother’s Keeper program that offers assistance to disadvantaged groups looking to improve their lives through hard work and dedication.
According to Brother’s Keeper website, the program helps educate and mentor skilled trade-workers through carpentry training and job placement assistance.
To become a member of the program, one has to be 18-years-old; have reliable transportation, and must be able to lift 60+ pounds and pass drug screening.
Jimenez passed the requirements for the program and has been working hard for the past 18 months, dedicating herself fully to learning the trade.
Today she works as a Carpenter’s Apprentice on a special underground project in downtown Los Angeles.
Dan Langford, the executive secretary-treasurer of the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters, said Jimenez’s “resilience, strength and can-do attitude is what helped her succeed in this program.”
Jimenez gives all the credit to God. She thanked her family and all of the wonderful mentors who believed in her at the carpenter’s union, including teachers who encouraged her not to give up.
“I love it, I love my job,” Jimenez said.
As of 2018, there were 552,830 homeless people in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Annual Homeless Assessment Report. Among the states, California accounts for most of the country’s homeless population with 129,972 homeless people identified in 2018.
The most recent count conducted in Los Angeles County revealed that there were nearly 59,000 homeless people in 2019, while there were 9,784 homeless people in San Francisco.