Re: plan to employ SF homeless in live-in factory: Uhlman INFO

Theodore Latham (
Mon, 27 Apr 1998 21:17:39 PDT

John Uhlman,

   In response to the following question:

>I want to know if there are  any similar projects that you are familiar 
with. I want to know this so I can  learn as much as possible from them, 
about what worked, and what didnt, to basically get as much information 
as possible in advance of launching our plans.

   I will tell you of my homelessness experience while working for 
Industrial Labor Services (I.L.S.), in Houston, San Antonio, and Austin 
Texas from 8/95 to 12/95. First may I say, your program will be a 
success, especially since San Francisco had no such program, while I was 
homeless there last summer! Now, back to Texas. When I first arrived to 
Texas, for the 1st time after hitchhiking from Lake Charles, LA, I had 
already known about the availabilty of Day Labor, moreso out west, than 
in my native East Coast region! After going through the Harris County 
Library microfiche I came up with 2 possiblilities for me to earn some 
quick cash: Labor Force and I.L.S! I went to Labor Force, only to find 
better than 250 people lounging around the Labor Hall waiting to get a 
ticket somewhere! Since, I was an addict, my waiting around patience was 
low to non-existant so I panhandled bus fair and rode the bus to ILS on 
Collingsworth and Legion! I was surprised , when I entered the main 
entrance, to see a coffee machine, bunk beds, shower facilities, and 
microwaves! Although I didn't hang around to get a ticket and later left 
Houston enroute to San Antonio, I knew that this place would suit my 
emp,oyment and homelessness needs!

    Once, in San Antonio, I located ILS and caught the bus to 
Fredericksburg Rd. and got on a work ticket as soon as I completed my 
application! To my surprise they even issued work eq. (gloves, hard 
hats, masks, aprons, boots, tools, etc.) And on top of that, they even  
took the workers out to the job via company van, and then picked you up 
when your shift was over! Then when I got back and received my $35 for a 
days work, I learned that I could stay in the bunk house for $7 a night 
and if I wished to save my money, I could sign up for their "Pay Check 
Draw" program, in which (like the bank) I could make withdrawals and 
deposits to and from my earned income! And speaking of  earned income, 
that was the only thing deducted from my checks! But as an abuser of 
drugs, I eventually had to leave San Antonio, so I looked in a Telephone 
Book in the Library to locate the next nearest city that had an ILS. 
Which of course was Austin! So I thumbed my way up I-35 and immediately 
settled into the ILS their and like before, was out on a ticket in 
Research Park, that same day! So you could say, ILS took care of me 
(along with the Lone Star Food Stamp Card), the entire time I was 
homeless in Texas, and I ended up acquiring the skills learned from 
various Job Tickets, like learning how to operate a fork lift and Pace 
Foods, Inc. (maker's of Pace Picante Sauce) and learning how to mass 
assemble Ice Cream at HEB Grocery, Inc, that helped me to land good jobs 
in several of the other 25 states I was homeless in as the years went 

     ILS is no longer ILS now. They have changed their name to 
Pacesetter Personnel, Inc. and you can contact them in at:

1714 Collingsworth
Houston, TX

    That address and phone number was from 1995 so, you may want to just 
call Houston's Operator Information and ask for the new phone number if 
it has changed! Well, I don't have time to spell check this, but I hope 
this has been helpful to you. Nuff Said!


Tedrico Latham

Your Informative Homelessness Resource Link!
P.O. Box 514 Rich Square, NC 27869 (252)539-4228

Tom Boland <> forwarded:

>FWD  CC Replies to author John Uhlman <>
>My name is John Uhlman, I am an MBA student at Dominican College of San
>Rafael, and a resident of San Francisco, Ca. My school is a Catholic
>school, and a Business school, with an orientation towards sustainable
>development. Since  this is the case, we have come up with a project 
>to employ and house the  homeless in SF. The reason I am writing to you 
>I want to know if there are  any similar projects that you are familiar
>with. I want to know this so I can  learn as much as possible from 
>about what worked, and what didnt, to basically get as much information 
>possible in advance of launching our  plans..
>Our idea is to set up a manufacturing cooperative that produces womens
>clothing. What we have in mind is a live-in factory, where the homeless 
>supplied with all the basic necessities of life. Three hot meals, a 
>showers, etc. and a job. The ideal would be to use facilities at the
>Presido of  SF, where their is lots of housing and possible production
>space, but since this  is a long shot, there are other sites that can 
>rented for a nominal cost.  This factory would be a closely held
>corporation, where the number of hours  worked would determine ones 
>in the company, the only shareholders would be  people who actually 
>in, no one else would be allowed to own a share. At  the end of each
>quarter, the total profits would be divided among the workers  
according to
>their total shares. The catch is that if their are no profits,  there 
is no
>pay. I have a feeling, and I know this seems idealistic, that once  the
>women of SF and the bay area, realize they can buy quality clothing at
>affordable prices made by the homeless of SF, instead of in a sweatshop 
>the  third world, we will be successful. (did you know that the average
>markup in  womens clothing sold in Marin County was 100% above cost). I
>realize this  sounds like exploiting people, but if the profits from 
>successful sweatshop  were distributed to the workers, and not just 
>by the owner, then it  wouldnt be a sweatshop. There are examples of 
>enterprises being  successful, dormitory factories in China, the 
Kibbutz in
>Israel, and I believe  that if people believe that they are involved in
>something, that they are  working for themselves, not their employers, 
>their productivity rises, and  they can out compete the low wages 
>in Mexico and other less developed  nations. A viable economic 
>is our goal, one that includes ourselves,  and about 20 to 30 formerly
>homeless people.
>The purpose of this project is not only to help get people of the 
>but  to try and keep them off, giving them a chance to earn a living 
>save money  while not having to pay rent. Then after having learned job
>skills, maybe some  will become self supporting, at which point they 
>leave the cooperative and  let us offer an oppurtunity to some new 
>I have been a volunteer at many  homeless shelters in SF and am 
currently a
>volunteer for the Dept. of Human  Services in SF. I have talked to many 
>the homeless, and found some willing to  take a chance, and many others 
>do not trust us enough to be interested. The  trust factor has been the
>biggest problem, people believe we will be warehousing  them and using 
>for cheap labor and then taking the money and running. But  what I want
>people to know, that the balance sheet and financial position of any
>corporation is open to any shareholder, by law, and the books can be 
>on  the wall for all to see. The fact that our school is also a convent 
>led to  the incorporation of the nuns into our plans, they provide the
>trust and  assurance many people need, and they have agreed to come 
with us
>in the event of  actual recruting taking place. This is only a quick
>outline of the plan, if you  are interested in more details please 
email me
>So in closing, what I am seeking is if you know of any people who have 
>through a similar project, please let me know, we need to get all the 
>information we can, so this very difficult task might be made easier. 
>includes people who have trained homeless for jobs, training for the 
>MBAs who have not worked closely with the homeless before, or any other
>skills you might think helpful. Thank you very much for your time and I
>hope to  hear from you soon.
>John Uhlman <>
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