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First Step

12/19/2016 |

First Step was founded in Atlanta, Georgia on the principle that people who want to work to end their homelessness should be connected to work and any necessary supports as soon as possible. From 2007 to 2015, First Step operated similarly to a small staffing agency, except that they prioritized people who had had no home address for 36 months and had been unemployed for 24 months or longer. In that period they helped 2,400 homeless individuals reenter the workforce and secured benefits for more than 1,200 people. Next, First Step took a bold move to get their operations to scale and acquired a for-profit staffing agency and converted it to a nonprofit. Since the acquisition, employment has grown to 1,000 individuals working daily, revenues have increased to over $21 million and First Step is nearly 100 percent self-sustaining. First Step is exploring launching a similar venture in Philadelphia. Barra’s grant will support their hiring of a broker to identify a firm for acquisition and subsequently provide initial seed funding to help attract additional investors.

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