Michael has a full-time job, a home, and he looks forward to the future—but that wasn’t always the case.
When he was younger, drug addiction led the Bronx native to homelessness and incarceration. Seven years into his 10-year prison term, optimism gradually overcame his hopelessness. “I started taking it one day at a time, kept myself busy, and got my associate degree.”
After his release in 2016, struggling to find permanent employment, he attended a workforce development workshop. There he learned about Project Renewal’s Next Step Internship Program (NSIP), which provides on-the-job training for unemployed adults interested in homeless services work. The opportunity for a career helping others resonated with him.
Through NSIP, Michael received intensive vocational and life skills training, plus a six-week paid internship at a Project Renewal shelter. “I learned so much in the program and got certifications like Mental Health First Aid, Nonviolent Crisis Intervention, and the F80 Fire Guard Certification,” he says. “I also learned that what you give, you get back.”
Today, he is a Residential Aide at our new Bronx shelter for LGBTQ young adults, the first of its kind in the City. “I make sure our clients get the support they need,” he says proudly. “I tell them their situation is only temporary. Believe me, I know.” In a few years, Michael wants to be an assistant shelter director at Project Renewal—his future is indeed looking bright.