Perdue Farms held an on-site job fair at the Georgetown Pallet Village April 20. The poultry processing company has a plant within walking distance of the homeless village.
“We are always hiring,” said Shacre Jones, Perdue field recruiter. She said the Georgetown plant employs more than 800 people who work three shifts.
That follows a successful Beebe Healthcare job fair, said Judson Malone, executive director of Springboard Collaborative, the nonprofit organization that manages and supports the village and its 43 residents on the grounds of First State Community Action Agency in the center of Georgetown. The village opened its doors Jan. 31.
Malone said so far, 16 residents have found jobs and three have moved on to more permanent housing. He said more and more organizations are reaching out to provide support to the project, including Del-One Federal Credit Union, which provides financial services each week, including setting up accounts.
Malone said the first goal was to help residents get their documentation updated and help them develop goals.
“There are still 25 people living out in the woods,” Malone said. “One has shown interest in coming, but we can’t make them come here. Some chose that way of life.”
Another project is underway to maintain a community garden.
Residents live in 64-square-foot shelters complete with heat and air conditioning. Showers and bathrooms are provided in separate trailers. Residents receive three meals a day and can participate in a variety of on-site services, including counseling and healthcare.
Malone said other city officials have visited the site and are interested in establishing a Pallet village; the shelters are manufactured by Pallet, located in Everett, Wash. The Georgetown village is the first of its kind in the region.
Springboard Collaborative is a nonprofit shelter and housing developer for people experiencing homelessness and those who are housing insecure.