Housing Works Job Training Program participant Tree Alexander is currently working as a Direct Observation of Therapy (DOT) specialist in Housing Works’ access to care department, where he provides one-on-one medical case management for clients. He is the first Job Training Program (JTP) member to participate in this career track at Housing Works.
JTP is New York State’s first and most successful job training and placement program for homeless people living with HIV. Graduates of the rigorous, nine-month program are guaranteed employment at a living wage with full benefits at Housing Works or one of Housing Works’ entrepreneurial ventures.
Tree was diagnosed with HIV in 2006, and became a Housing Works client last year. A Chicago native, Tree had no ties or family connections to help him rebound after unemployment and domestic violence led him to be homeless. His Housing Works case manager Annie Cooper helped him apply for the Job Training Program (JTP). After initial skepticism, Tree has found JTP to be a rewarding experience.
“JTP is an intense program. At first I thought ‘I’m going to introduce my creativity and I’m going to make the program better than it is.’ But I couldn’t do this until I worked under the programs standards. Now that I’ve gotten used to it, I really have gotten a lot out of the program,” he said.
Tree before worked as a personal trainer and fitness instructor, a job he said was a natural leap to his current position. “Both jobs are about helping a person as an individual, and helping people take care of themselves,” Tree said.
A natural in front of the camera, Tree was recently profiled on LOGO talking about his experience coming out as HIV-positive.
“When HIV came into my life I changed it to help promote awareness so other people wouldn’t be put into the same situation,” Tree said.
For more of Tree, watch the video:blog comments powered by Disqus