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HomeFirst’s New Start Program:  

Reworking New Start for Individual Success 

Hopeful Consulting Team​: 

Brock Gustafson 
Mark Malone 
Matt Mason 
Sarah Bean 
May 1, 2018 
Mr. René D. Ramirez  
Chief Operating Officer 
HomeFirst 507 Valley Way  
Milpitas CA 95035 
Dear Mr. René D. Ramirez:  
Thank you for the opportunity to work with HomeFirst in an effort to rework the New 
Start Program. With this proposal we are confident that New Start’s current and future 
participants will become prepared to enter the workforce, eventually transfering into 
the Working Person's Program. The structure will bring training and the job search to 
the program’s forefront and ready participants for employment and ultimately 
sustainable housing.  
A HomeFirst priority is to guarantee beds to homeless individuals working to prepare 
themselves for independence. Participants in New Start and the Working Person’s 
Program will be guaranteed a bed as long as they are participating in either of the 
programs. To ensure that the shelter can guarantee beds to as many individuals as 
possible, the six month program timeframe must be strictly followed. Additionally, 
participants must be engaged in training and meet other standards to enroll in and 
graduate from the New Start Program.   
Again, we appreciate the opportunity to work with HomeFirst and are confident that 
our proposal will be instrumental in reaching the goals of New Start. 
Thank you, 
Hopeful Consulting 
Brock Gustafson 
Mark Malone 
Sarah Bean 
Matt Mason 

Table of Contents 

Executive Summary 3 
Introduction to the Problem 4 
Project Rationale 5-6 
Deliverables 7 
Cost Analysis 8-9 
Delivery Schedule 10 
Success Metrics 11 
Staffing 12-13 
Final Results 14-17 
Appendices 18-37 

Executive Summary 

HomeFirst serves 4,000 individuals annually in the Santa Clara County. It operates 
seven locations, aiding adults, veterans, family, and youth. HomeFirst believes in 
developing and training individuals to have the ability to find and retain housing.  

Hopeful Consulting 
Hopeful Consulting is a consulting team based at Santa Clara University. Our mission 
is to develop, communicate, and implement practical solutions within the New Start 
Suggestions for New Start 
HomeFirst prioritizes creating self-sufficient individuals and guaranteeing beds to 
participants enrolled in a shelter program. By establishing a strict structure to the 
previously vague program, New Start will produce individuals that are ready to secure 
employment within six months of entering the program. Upon completing the 
program, participants will move into the Working Person’s Program, gaining 
additional support to move out of the shelter and into permanent housing.  
Implementation of a rigid training schedule is essential. Adherence to that schedule 
ensures that participants are well versed and confident in their jobs. As a result, 
HomeFirst can be proud of the individuals they send into the workforce. Each graduate 
of New Start should feel confident in his or her employment role and represent 
HomeFirst in a positive manner. 
Additional Resources 
Additional resources will be provided in the form of training videos to supplement 
hands on training sessions. Further, we will provide tools to help in the job search, 
along with extension, discharge, and evaluation forms to be used by New Start 
management. To ensure accountability, a goal sheet and monthly progress surveys 
will also be included. 
Chipping away at the problem that homelessness presents for the Bay Area through 
New Start is a priority for both HomeFirst and Hopeful Consulting.  

Introduction To The Problem 

Homelessness in Santa Clara County has become prevalent, though it can be an 
overlooked issue. Furthermore, from 2015 to 2017 homelessness in the Santa Clara 
County sharply rose relative to other Bay Area Counties. 

HomeFirst Facility 
HomeFirst can accommodate 250 homeless on a daily basis. Beds are guaranteed to 
homeless in particular programs: 30 participants in the Working Person’s Program, 
40 participants in the New Start Program, 50 in the Veterans Assistance, and 125 beds 
offered are offered in a lottery at 3pm daily. Five to 10 individuals are turned away 
from the shelter daily because the shelter has met capacity. 

● The Working Person’s program is offered for homeless that have proof of 
employment, but are struggling to secure housing.   
● The New Start Program is offered for homeless that are struggling to find 
employment. Participants are trained and perform janitorial or kitchen services 
tasks at the facility.  
● Veterans’ Assistance offers beds for homeless that have previously served in 
the US Military. 

New Start Program

The New Start Program is intended to train participants in a six month program, but it 
currently has had little turnover. Many of the New Start participants have been in the 
program for more than three years, training and performing janitorial and cafeteria 
services. The main program goal is to allow participants to transition to a working life 
that allows them to become self-sufficient. 

Unique Cases 
The New Start program has participants with unique needs; the program is meant to 
provide a helping hand within people's lives. For example, the HomeFirst’s Chief 
Operating Officer, René Ramirez, told us about Ms. Ruth, a homeless woman in her 
90’s whom most likely finish her life at HomeFirst facilities. 

While restructuring the New Start Program, we need to be conscientious about 

situations like Ms. Ruth’s. Furthermore, HomeFirst is a low barrier shelter, meaning 
that they open their facilities to absolutely anybody in need. This policy includes 
people who are currently substance-dependent or suffer from severe mental health 

Project Rationale 

Most of the current participants have been in the program for about three years. In 
order to get more of the participants to graduate the program we propose a 
restructuring of the program and increased training especially in the areas of building 
a resume and searching for jobs.

Proposed Plan
The current structure leaves the participants with the majority of the responsibility of 
finding a job and gives no incentive for participants to move on from the program. 
Adding structure and goals will help redefine the program and incentivise the 
participants to graduate from the program. The restructuring of the program will 
include an orientation to define the purpose and parameters of the program. The new 
structure of the program will include monthly check ins, job application goals, and 
mandatory training videos. The structure and purpose of the program will all be 
detailed in an orientation information packet that will be distributed to all New Start 
participants. Extension and discharge forms have also been created for the program to 
add structure to the discharge and extension process at the the end of the initial six 
months of the program. These forms will also give Homefirst more information on 
how to improve the program in the future based on participants’ experiences and 

Orientation Information Packet

The packet will contain all resources given to the participants which will include 
training videos, suggested places to look for employment, the purpose of the 
program, and the goals and structure of the program. The training videos will cover 
topics including building a resume, applying for jobs, and interviewing for positions. 
Upon graduation, participants will receive a certificate and an evaluation by a Case 
Manager of the New Start Program. Participants will receive feedback about their 
performance and what they can improve upon in the evaluation to help them in their 
next job. The restructuring and the deliverables will offer more resources to the 
participants and give them a clear plan and incentive to get stable employment. 

Project Rationale 
If the participants believe in the goal of the program and work towards getting outside 
employment using the tools provided, the program will have more graduates. By 
adding more structure, goals and resources the program should be more effective at 
helping participants locate outside stable employment. Commitment will be a small 
obstacle to this proposal but by adding more structure and goals there will be a clear 
path to stable employment for participants. 
With a renewed sense of purpose and empowered with new resources and structure 
the new start program will start to have graduates again. Structure and goals for the 
program will guide and incentivize participants to find stable outside employment and 
graduate the program. New resources will also aid the participants in finding local 

Training Schedule 
New Start began with the goal of preparing guests for janitorial and kitchen services 
careers within 6 months. To ensure that they reach this goal, Hopeful Consulting will 
provide an updated training schedule for the New Start Program to present to 
participants. By providing a structured set of goals and checkpoints throughout the 
program, participants can begin to develop actual progress towards career skills, 
rather than just being a helping hand in the kitchen.  
Information Packet 
Hopeful Consulting will provide educational and informational videos for the 
members of the New Start Program. With the help of the HomeFirst chef and other 
experienced staff, the team will collect the appropriate tools and information 
necessary to succeed in the work environment. 
The goal of delivering this information is to get the participants to begin actively 
thinking of the job process throughout the program. By consistently reinforcing the 
skills and etiquette necessary to succeed in the job environment, we are confident that 
members of the program will leave the shelter well-equipped for their next 
Job Opportunities
The purpose of this program is to empower participants to secure a permanent job. 
Our focus will be to provide maximum opportunities for participants to gain exposure 
to the job market. We will provide them with an information packet that includes a list 
of potential employers that are searching for employees like New Start participants, 
tutorials for janitorial and custodial services, and other information related to the job 

Cost Analysis 
Hopeful Contribution 
Hopeful Consulting Total Cost Estimate

Costs Per week Total

Time 10 hours 40 hours

Transportation 17 miles 68 miles

New Start & Employee Expenses 

Internal Costs

Costs Hours Per week Total

(time) physical labor 24 96 hours

(time) job searching 1 4 hours

(time) tech help/resume building 2 8 hours

(time) training sessions 1 4 hours

Cost Analysis 

Other Costs to Consider 

Employee Health 
● The participants of the New Start program face a series of obstacles to entering the 
work environment. We must consider the challenges facing New Start participants, 
including the weight of stepping into the work environment for possibly the first time 
in years. 
Detraction from Other Programs 
● The immense shift in focus towards the New Start Program on our behalf is certain to 
detract from other programs which HomeFirst offers for guests. 
Potential Employee Benefits 
Working Person’s Program 
● If participants are successful in obtaining employment via the New Start Program, then 
they have the opportunity to enter the shelter’s Working Person’s Program. This 
program guarantees shelter to any guest that can show proof of employment. 
Certification in Janitorial or Custodial Services 
● P​articipants in the program will receive a certification in either janitorial or custodial 
services. These will be used by participants to build a resumes and aid them in the job 
A New Start and Salary 
● The average salary for a job in custodial services is $
​ 28, 440​ as of April 29, 2018. If 
participants succeed at obtaining a job, it will provide them with a new career, and a 
new home. 

Delivery Schedule 
Phase 1: Research and Proposal 

Activity Date Involvement

Establish communication with COO of Homefirst René 4/16/18 Sarah Bean

Ramirez and discuss possible improvements to shelter René Ramirez

Meeting and tour of shelter with Pauline Bayati and René 4/24/18 All Team Members
Ramirez to discuss possible improvements of their New René Ramirez
Start Program and get legal waiver signed Pauline Bayati

Team meeting to finalize project deliverables and goals for 4/30/18 All Team Members
improvement of the New start program

Initial submission of project proposal 5/1/18 All Team Members

Phase 2: Implementation and Results 
Activity Date Involvement

Meeting with HomeFirst to discuss implementation of 5/11/18 All Team Members

proposal and structure of deliverables René Ramirez
Pauline Bayati

Presentation of deliverables for feedback 5/31/18 All Team Members

Pauline Bayati

Final versions of deliverables sent in soft copy 6/1/18 All Team Members
Pauline Bayati

Final approval of deliverables 6/4/18 All Team Members

Pauline Bayati

Success Metrics 

The New Start Program will now set goals to motivate job search; providing 
participants with stable employment leading to stable housing is the ultimate 
● Three job applications per month in the first four months - twelve jobs total 
● Four job applications per month the last two months - eight jobs total 
● At the end of the program’s 6 month period, participants will have applied to at 
least 20 positions. 

Participants will have performance reviews with members of the HomeFirst 
staff to evaluate their progress within the program. This ensures participants 
are actively engaging in the program, applying for jobs, and not falling behind 
the group. This program will lead them into the direction of becoming a 
HomeFirst success story.  
Participants will be trained and certificatied in either 
custodial or kitchen services; furthermore, the 
participants will practice their learned skills at 
HomeFirst on a weekly basis.   


Sarah Bean, Outreach 

Sarah excels at communication and majors in Marketing in the 
Leavey School of Business. She has worked in Marketing for 
Silicon Valley startups and will be working as an Associate 
Product Marketing Manager Intern at Google in Sunnyvale, CA.  

Brock Gustafson, Project Manager  
Brock demonstrates strong people skills and majors in Finance 
in the Leavey School of Business. He has been working with the 
same technology startup since the summer of 2016 and 
demonstrates commitment to teams, relationships, and projects.  

Matt Mason, Writer/Editor 

Matt displays great communication and people skills and is 
currently majoring in Marketing in the Leavey School of Business. 
Has held sales and promotional jobs and is currently interning in 
the marketing department at Seafair in Seattle Washington.  

Mark Malone, Numbers Analyst 
Mark illustrates a passion for a collaborative work 
environment and social awareness. He is currently a junior 
Finance major at the Leavey School of Business. He spent the 
past summer working on-campus at SCU’s Investment Office, 
and he is serving as his fraternity’s financial advisor. His 
passions include creative writing, investments, and making a 
positive impact. 

Final Results: Discussion 
Goal of Proposal 
The Hopeful Consulting 
team created a new 
structure and goals for 
the program as well as 
created an orientation 
information packet filled 
with resources for 
participants. The packet 
outlined a structure 
meant to help 
participants look for jobs 
and learn how to build a 
resume and interview for jobs. These materials were delivered to the Shelter Manager 
in hard and soft copies. The goal was to increase the programs graduation rate by 
adding structure and incentives in the form of goals and resources to help participants 
find and interview for jobs. 
The success of Hopeful Consulting’s work will be shown in the long term of the New 
Start Program. Success of the restructuring of the 6 month program will be 
determined by increased graduations and reflected on the evaluations of the program 
by the participants and the evaluations of the participants by HomeFirst Case 
Managers. The feedback of all involved and the number of participants getting 
employment due to the resources our team provided will tell if the restructuring of 
this program was a success. Further, it will show how the program can adapt to better 
train participants and help them find employment. 
Final Results: Implications 
Hopeful Consulting’s main takeaway is that there can always be more done to help 
fight the homelessness problem in Silicon Valley and to help the Nonprofits. 
Channeling more resources to shelters like HomeFirst and programs like New Start 
would be a worthwhile investment. As seen by our work with this project, providing a 
few valuable resources can make a marked difference. Shelters in Santa Clara County 
need more resources and funding to deal with the increase in homelessness due to 
house prices steadily rising in the Bay Area. 

Final Results: Limitations 
Despite Hopeful Consulting’s best efforts to aid HomeFirst in every capacity possible, 
as students our time and efforts were limited to less than 10 weeks of dedication to 
this project. Our efforts towards restructuring New Start were in-depth, but we 
recognize several other actions that we could have taken to benefit the program more 
completely given a greater time allowance. 
First-Hand Experience 
The members of Hopeful Consulting have not personally experienced participation in 
the New Start Program or a stay at the HomeFirst shelter. With that in mind, we had to 
use our observations at the shelter and the experiences shared with us to create our 
proposal and deliverables. Though we could not know the exact experience of the 
participants and Case Managers of the program, we worked to use all of the 
information provided to create the best solution possible. 
Another limitation pertaining to the timeframe of this project was that we were not 
able to gauge the impact that our deliverables created. If we were able to observe the 
impacts, we could further adjust our deliverables to maximize the success of New Start 

Final Results: Recommendations 
The collaborative relationship formed between Hopeful Consulting and HomeFirst 
makes duplication of work with HomeFirst possible. This organization is receptive to 
support like the support we provided for the New Start Program. Students from Santa 
Clara University who would like to support this HomeFirst further could easily do so 
with the relationship we have established. 
To replicate this project, we suggest:  
● Contact René Ramirez (COO of HomeFirst) or Pauline Bayati (Shelter Manager) 
to discuss continued support of HomeFirst. 
● Meet with either contact to discuss the project to be worked on given the areas 
of the concern that the shelter is facing at that time. 
● Establish a timeline of deliverables for both HomeFirst and the consultancy to 
ensure maximum productivity.  
● Create preliminary drafts of deliverables. 
● Meet with HomeFirst contacts for approval of deliverables to make any 
necessary alterations prior to final presentation of deliverables. 
● Make any revisions necessary based on feedback. 
● Deliver final resources requested by HomeFirst. 
To ensure success of future students and improve effectiveness: 
In order to maximize the impact of work done with HomeFirst, we recommend that 
future groups of students spend time with a group of New Start participants and speak 
directly with them. This first-hand experience with New Start participants will allow 
for students to understand the best way to serve the clientele. Also, we hope that the 
impact of our work has been seen in some capacity by the time that future students 
work with HomeFirst. Students can adjust their strategy to align with the results seen 
from our work’s outcomes. 


Email Correspondence