CALGARY—Generally, all you really want is somebody to provide you an opportunity.

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That’s the philosophy behind Commongood Linens, an organization that hires people who find themselves homeless, in restoration applications or refugees that will face limitations in securing employment.

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Dave Cree (left) and Gary Gattie in the Commongood Linen warehouse. The company provides its services to around 50 restaurants and hotels in Calgary and Canmore.
Dave Cree (left) and Gary Gattie within the Commongood Linen warehouse. The corporate offers its companies to round 50 eating places and resorts in Calgary and Canmore.  (Mary Getaneh / StarMetro)

“They’re displaying their very own private motivations to get themselves out of homelessness, however nobody is giving them the chance,” stated Dave Cree, founding father of Commongood. “That’s the place we actually discover our candy spot and say ‘OK, we are able to see you’re doing all this work, let’s provide you with a shot now.’”

Gary Gattie has been working for Commongood Linens for 2 months. Gattie is an engineer, however has struggled with a drug habit for 20 years, which price him his job.

He began volunteering on the shelter he was staying at, which he stated helped him along with his vanity. Gattie has been in restoration for seven months, however was struggling to seek out work. He stated his new job has given him “a model new life.”

“Somebody like Dave giving me a serving to hand, he knew I used to be in restoration and he trusted me and gave me an opportunity,” Gattie stated. “A number of instances all we’d like is an opportunity.” The job, he stated, “offers me gratitude, it offers me hope for myself and religion in different individuals.”

Since he began the enterprise, Cree stated a few of his workers have been capable of depart shelters and transfer into properties. He began the enterprise two years in the past, but it surely’s one thing that’s been rolling round behind his head for a decade. He skilled a day of homelessness, the place he was purported to beg for cash, as a part of a social justice course.

“The second I bought on the road I instantly observed how no one wished to speak to me,” Cree stated. “Folks would keep away from me just like the plague.”

If individuals did speak to him, it was both a impolite remark or asking if he wished to purchase medicine. “It actually shocked me the best way we, as Canadians, deal with somebody who’s down and out on the road.”

Within the final two years, his enterprise has grown and now offers service to round 50 eating places and resorts in Calgary and Canmore. They moved from the basement of the Drop-In Centre and now personal a warehouse.

Commongood Linens hires workers by way of a number of companies within the metropolis: the Drop-In Centre, Recent Begin Restoration, The Alex and the Mustard Seed.

Workers are employed on an off-the-cuff foundation. After a 3 month probation interval, the place they show dedication to their job and present a optimistic perspective, they acquire full-time hours and a residing wage of $18 an hour.

Cree stated the enrolment coverage could be very open. If somebody doesn’t have an ID or checking account, he’ll pay them in money. On the identical time, they’ll work to get some sort of identification and a checking account began for them. It may be a difficult approach to run a enterprise, however ensuring the setting is optimistic is essential.

“It’s tough. We expertise excessive turnover. Now we have to observe the sort of setting that we create for our workers,” Cree stated. “It must be supportive, it has to permit individuals to have dignity. We don’t speak all the way down to individuals … the tradition is so essential right here.”

Cree stated though it may be a difficult enterprise mannequin, it’s one thing we could also be seeing extra of.

“We’re a way more acutely aware client and that’s a window for companies like ours to actually thrive,” Cree stated. “I feel our society is considerably beginning to reject the concept a enterprise ought to simply be revenue solely and never concern themselves in our planet or how we deal with individuals.”

Mary Getaneh is a Calgary-based reporter overlaying arts, tradition and variety. Observe her on Twitter: @marygetaneh



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