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Neighborhood House programs

Starting over provides man with new lease on life

Alvin Bluché had survived Hurricane Katrina, back in 2005, in part by taking shelter with his relatives inside the Louisiana Superdome, and helped rebuild a life for himself and his immediate family after the flooding subsided. But a trip to the Northwest for a friend’s wedding in late 2013 convinced him he had another, more positive future waiting for him here, and so he decided to move from his native New Orleans to Seattle.  While he hadn’t found a job, he had the help of a friend who allowed him to stay on his couch and search for work out of his home.

He learned about Neighborhood House at a resource fair and enrolled in Neighborhood House’s employment program a few weeks after moving here.  Alvin was immediately connected to Neighborhood House’s weekly job search group where he received targeted resume advice, participated in mock interviews, and received one-on-one assistance with online applications. Because of his prior work as a forklift operator, he wanted to take a Forklift Certification class. 

Through his Neighborhood House employment case manager, Munira, he was able to sign up for a two-week forklift training program offered by the Puget Sound Training Center.  She also provided him with bus passes so that he could get to and from training and access the computer lab to search and apply for jobs.

Alvin was also connected to Neighborhood House’s housing stability program that would allow him to find permanent, affordable housing. 

“I was in jeopardy of being homeless again, before Neighborhood House stepped in,” said Alvin.

Once he had his own roof over his head, things started coming together:  on December 5th, less than two months after enrolling in Neighborhood House’s programs, Alvin was hired by Randstad Staffing to work full time as a temporary forklift operator.  In mid-December, Alvin was also approved for an apartment and moved in. Neighborhood House was able to assist him with the first and last months’ rent and the deposit. 

With the help of his housing case manager, Alvin was able to get furniture through Share House. He is now paying his own rent, all of his own bills and has become self-sufficient.  And he just started a new job as a forklift operator that will allow him to obtain healthcare coverage, benefits, and regular hours. 

Of his experience with Neighborhood House he said, “These leads helped me get a job and helped move me from homelessness and into a beautiful one-bedroom apartment. All the people who worked with me at Neighborhood House—Allison, Fartun, Naima and Munira—worked tremendously in making the process extremely smooth. I owe my success in life to them, and I can’t thank them enough.”

Alvin added that with every new journey, there are going to be bumps in the road, but out of nowhere a path emerged through Neighborhood House that helped him in ways he had never imagined possible.