Perspectives Family Center and RESTART program share a unique partnership to assist homeless women. The Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) realized that there is a great need to help women who have been on drugs, involved with domestic violence or institutions by training them to become self-sufficient. They became concerned that spiraling housing costs, combined with welfare reform would put many more families on the street.
They work together and provide job training, job placements with competitive wages, future advancement and residency that accompanies the job placement. This partnership gives homeless women the change to obtain a respectful and affordable living situation for their families and a way to support their families on their own. The real estate industry gains well-trained and motivated employees and the women gain self- respect, a good paying job with a future and affordable housing.
Kathleen McKenna-Harmon has been the driving force behind this partnership. She has taken this mission on almost single handedly to promote this program within her industry and community. But most importantly, she has been an invaluable role model, support and cheerleader for the women participating. She has successfully convinced they women that they are worth this opportunity if they want to work for it, and she will be there in any capacity to support them as long as they are doing they part.
McKenna-Harmon has worked passionately on behalf of the women in the RESTART program. These women have very few job skills, but she has developed, recruited, trained and even found employers who will hire the women as resident managers. Because of this, the residents of Perspectives Family Center can move out of transitional housing and into permanent housing with benefits. The women are happy with the time and the “gift” of being able to obtain employment opportunities; however, they are most happy that they can become contributing members to society and have their dignity. For the first time, many of these women are excited about their own potential.
McKenna-Harmon takes a group of women who have failed by society’s standards and works with them to realize their potential and become professional women with a sense of self-esteem and self-worth. The women learn every aspect of the property management business and have the opportunity to go further once they graduate. IREM and McKenna-Harmon will then work with them so they can attain their real estate licenses. McKenna-Harmon is not about a lot of words; she is a woman of action. Her actions have affected many women and their children and resulted in a better Eden Prairie community.