St. Francis Center, a Denver-based nonprofit organization, has partnered with Everybody Solar and ARE Solar to install a 26.24-kW solar array and launch job training opportunities at its Warren Residences housing complex.
The Warren Residences, SFC’s third housing project in Denver, offers 48 dorm-style affordable supportive units for unhoused community members working or ready to work as part of their efforts to transition out of homelessness.
The solar installation will help SFC reduce its energy costs and carbon footprint while also providing job training opportunities for the unhoused community members.
Beyond environmental impact, the project is designed to offer job training opportunities to unhoused community members. This endeavor aligns with St. Francis Center’s commitment to equipping individuals with the skills they need to transition out of homelessness successfully.
Two trainees were identified for this installation. During the training activities at St. Francis, trainees were assessed for their suitability for employment in the solar industry. While both participants completed the training, one secured full-time employment with ARE Solar, but the other, due to mental health challenges, did not. Overall, this provides a strong connection for possible future hires, underscores the need for thorough candidate evaluation, and emphasizes safety as a paramount concern in solar industry training.
“The partnerships with Everybody Solar and ARE Solar not only helps us reduce our energy costs and carbon footprint, but it also provides job training opportunities for the unhoused community members,” said Nancy Burke, SFC executive director. “We are committed to improving the environment, and this solar installation is a significant step towards achieving that goal.”
In 2022, the total daily visits by guests to St. Francis Center were 171,049 with a daily average of 469 different individuals. In total, 9,131 unique guests were welcomed by the Day Center Team over the course of the year.
“We are honored to bring solar energy to SFC and create pathways for solar job training,” said Myriam Scally, Everybody Solar’s executive director. “By reducing operating costs, launching a job training program, and meeting sustainability goals, this project has a broad impact on the people, the Denver community and the environment.”
High rent, job scarcity and mental health issues remain primary causes of homelessness in Denver. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these challenges, leading to an increased need for support. In partnership with ARE Solar, SFC is developing a renewable energy workforce program, offering a direct pathway to jobs in the sector.
News item from St. Francis Center