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Getting Ahead Graduates Speak to Homelessness

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February 20, 2024

On February 7, United Way hosted a meeting of graduates of the “Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-by World” workshop series, during which they were introduced to Jillian Redder, the Director of Housing and Special Initiatives for Jefferson County.  Graduates, some of whom have experienced homelessness firsthand, shared their feedback on potential programs to address homelessness.  The group offered valuable insight into barriers to housing assistance, the effectiveness of existing services, and ideas for robust programming to help people move into long-term stable housing.

Jillian was impressed with the graduates’ candor and energy and agreed to take their ideas back to the Homeless Advisory Group.  The graduates look forward to learning how their input will be integrated into program design and are already planning to invite Jillian back for another discussion around this critical issue. 

The meeting was part of Staying Ahead, a grassroots effort to provide a platform for graduates to continue to build resources.  The group meets again on Wednesday, March 6 at 4:30 PM for two individual workshops focused on administering Narcan and steps to help save a life from suicide. 

Open to all Getting Ahead graduates, Staying Ahead will take place the first Wednesday of each month with different topics based on the preferences and interests of those attending.  For more information, contact Dawn Cole at (315) 788-5631.

About Getting Ahead
“Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-by World” is an innovative workshop experience based on the work of “Bridges out of Poverty.”  Over the course of 16 – 18 weeks, participants referred to as investigators, work through a curriculum designed to provide the tools and strategies for moving out of poverty. Investigators take a deep dive into the impact of poverty on their own lives and in the community with each cohort conducting a comprehensive assessment of community conditions. 

Several organizations, including United Way of Northern New York, are committed to providing ongoing support to those making the arduous journey out of generational poverty.  For more information about how you can help Getting Ahead / Staying Ahead, please contact Dawn Cole at or (315) 788-5631.