Through many connected programs, Interfaith Works was able to help Dante overcome challenges and lift himself out of homelessness.

As a teenager, Dante was forced to care for himself when his mother returned to her home in the Virgin Islands and Dante remained in Maryland. Despite this obstacle, Dante continued to hold a part-time job, rented a room, and almost completed his studies at Montgomery College toward an associate of arts (AA) degree. Then, he lost his job and found himself unable to afford his rent. Dante experienced homelessness for about a week and sought help at the Interfaith Works Empowerment Center (IWEC) in Silver Spring.

The IWEC referred Dante to Interfaith Works Carroll House, a men’s shelter providing transitional housing and case management services. When Dante arrived in January 2017, he was a shy 21–year-old who struggled to engage in social settings. Over time, he grew more and more withdrawn. His Carroll House case manager referred him to mental health treatment where therapy helped Dante increase his comfort level with engaging socially. His IW case manager also referred him to the Interfaith Works Vocational Services program. Through this program, Dante made great strides.

He completed the IW Job Readiness class series, and worked one-on-one with a vocational counselor to revise his resume, create an effective cover letter, apply for jobs, and practice his interview skills. His hard work and determination paid off when Dante secured employment at Home Depot as a Customer Service/Sales Associate. Dante is also going through the interview process with Housing Unlimited Inc., an income-based housing program. When that is completed, he will share a townhome or condo with one or two other men.

What a difference a year can make! Dante is now 22 years old, working 30 hours a week in a job he enjoys, and putting aside savings for his new apartment. Dante reports that he would like to complete his studies to earn an AA degree once he has settled into his new home. He also talked about how much he likes his job at Home Depot, noting that the company has great benefits for their employees. “I hope to stay with them for a long time.”