BOSTON (CBS) – About a quarter of all homeless people in Boston shelters are working and many more want a job.

Homeless advocates say employment is the path to self-sufficiency and self-respect.

Karen LaFrazia is the Executive Director of St. Francis House, which runs a successful jobs training program.

“They’re living in a shelter, they want to work, they want to move on with their life,” she told WBZ NewsRadio 1030.

They take people who are sober and homeless and train them to work.

Everybody has a story and some are rougher than others – no home, problems with substance abuse, jail time.

Sitting down recently with April and Omar, I can tell you people change.

They’re sober, motivated and working. I met them at a program and a building in the South End called Project Place.

Omar has learned and now he’s teaching others.

“This is just my story, there are dozens of stories like that,” he told WBZ.

“I know guys who’ve been in jail for 20 years, now they’re working for the state, and they’re out of trouble and they’re never looking back.”

Michelle, April and Alicia were all homeless at one time. (Photo credit: Karen Twomey-WBZ NewsRadio 1030)

Michelle, April and Alicia were all homeless at one time. (Photo credit: Karen Twomey-WBZ NewsRadio 1030)

April is still homeless, she says it’s hard but her job has become her lifeline.

“When you want to better yourself nothing can stop you and that’s just how I want to live. I want to live like nothing can stop me right now.”

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karen Twomey reports

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