May 5, 2020
In mid-March, when California’s stay-at-home order forced Chrysalis to convert to virtual operations, the team quickly invented new ways to serve and support job seekers experiencing homelessness and stay connected to its volunteers and community partners. In the six weeks since then, Chrysalis has engaged with over 2,400 job seekers in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, while employing up to 400 people each week through Chrysalis Enterprises.
Employment Specialists counsel individuals on the phone or internet. Job leads are sent to candidates via text, and job-readiness and safety classes are delivered online. Volunteers continue to assist with these classes and work one-on-one with participants on the internet or via FaceTime, helping them develop resumes, complete job applications and do practice interviews.
To keep workers safe, Chrysalis has enhanced its training and PPE for crews providing cleaning services through Chrysalis Works and Chrysalis Staffing. The staffing division has remained busy, filling jobs for some 50 active accounts, primarily permanent supportive housing facilities, while also pursuing new leads for grocery, pharmacy and census workers.
Chrysalis Staffing has also placed some 110 workers at Project Roomkey sites. These are hotels and motels working with the City, State, County and Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority to house vulnerable people experiencing homelessness, and to temporarily house individuals exposed to COVID-19 who cannot isolate or quarantine in their own home. Chrysalis workers are delivering meals to individual rooms, helping new arrivals get settled and otherwise working to ensure smooth operations.
Chrysalis’ core employment services are designed to meet job seekers where they are and support them during every phase of their self-directed job search. During this time of economic hardship, those supports have taken the form of grocery cards, assistance with paying cell phone and internet bills, supplying masks so people can use public transportation, and help to complete the state’s 11-page unemployment application. Equally as important, Chrysalis staff and volunteers provide a friendly voice over the phone and help people stay connected in a time of increased physical isolation.
To connect with external stakeholders, including volunteers and donors, Chrysalis has begun presenting a 30-minute Butterfly Broadcast via Zoom every two weeks. Staff provide updates on the organization’s progress, discuss challenges they are working to address, share clients’ personal stories, and answer viewers’ questions. The short, early-evening format has proven to be an effective way to keep the broader community informed and answer the question, “How can I help?”