Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - The homeless population around Central New York is growing larger each day.
Many feel the solution to help combat the problem is simply providing housing for the homeless.
But one program is taking a different approach by helping people not only find housing, but giving them the skills they need to excel in their careers, education, and their lives overall.
The program is called Keys to Employment and Economic Stability (KEES)
and it helped one Syracuse resident who spent five years on the streets and in jail reclaim her life.
Erica Brown spent that half decade wandering or strung out on drugs after she lost her son.
“It was like one year after another everything got worse and eventually it was homelessness, having no where to go, having to do the lowest things you had to do to survive throughout the day,” Brown said.
She entered rehab with dreams of turning her life around. But instead she faced a grim reality as her life continued to spin out of control until one day she found the KEES program at Syracuse Behavioral Healthcare.
"They opened the door for college for me and gave me the courage to believe in myself,” she said.
Syracuse Behavioral Health President Jeremy Klemanski and his staff created the KEES program to make long-term solutions for people like Brown in order to enhance their job, academic and life skills.
"We ask what are we going to do to get this person in a position where they don't need us in the future, we want them to be in a position where they can rely on themselves, their own education, their own skills and their own training to provide their own resources,” said Klemanski.
Brown credits the program’s holistic approach for her turnaround. She says it helped her finish her first semester at college and her first step toward helping other people. For more information visit sbh.org