Threads of Change: Career Closet Event Empowers Hudson Family Shelter Residents 

Originally from Venezuela, the Caraballo family is one of 100 households that call Westhab’s Hudson Family Residence their temporary home. Mr. Caraballo just received his work permit and had managed to secure an interview with the help of Westhab staff when he received an invitation to a “Career Closet” event being held at Hudson.

The event was organized by Sebastian Levy, a Westhab Junior Board member. After visiting the Hudson Family Residence in July, Mr. Levy was inspired to organize a professional clothing drive to serve the families he met. With generous donations from Blackstone colleagues, the project grew into a larger Career Closet event that provided residents with the opportunity to shop for donated interview-worthy attire. Bringing our [Blackstone] office together to support this Carrer Closet event has been a very rewarding experience. I was proud to see the generosity of my colleagues and their support for this effort.”

Mr. Caraballo shared with his Case Worker that he had never had such professional attire. From day one at Westhab, Mr. Caraballo was struck by the generous help he received from staff, volunteers, and donors. The services rendered to the family were something he had never seen in his country. It was, he shared, “A breath of fresh air.”  

So, it was with great confidence that Mr. Caraballo arrived at his interview the next day, new outfit and all. Much to his surprise, he was hired on the spot. He has since had his duties increased and is seeing growth opportunities already. For the first time in a while, he is excited about the future, “All the hardship we have been through, it feels so good to be taking that next step. You never know what small good can make a huge difference in someone’s life.”

Mr. Caraballo’s personal victory illustrates how a clothing drive is about more than the garments– it is also about dignity and laying down stepping stones on the path to permanent housing. With steady employment, Mr. Caraballo can begin to apply for affordable housing. Guided through the final chapter of the housing journey by Westhab staff, he and his family will soon have an apartment to call their own. 

Well-run transitional housing programs (aka shelters or what Westhab calls rapid rehousing centers) are a crucial part of our community’s safety net while we work to expand the supply of quality affordable housing. They provide families with the stability and services they need to thrive and maintain independence. Mr. Levy explained how Mr. Caraballo’s story motivates him as a Junior Board member, “Hearing that a resident received a job offer soon after receiving our donations reaffirms my belief that a simple act of giving can be the catalyst for someone’s success, and underscores the profound impact collective efforts can have on families and communities.”

If you want to learn more about the Westhab Junior Board, please contact Nicolette Kavana, Development Officer,

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