One of the most effective ways to support individuals as they move out of homelessness and into permanent housing is increasing access to meaningful and sustainable job training and employment. Like other Americans, people experiencing homelessness want to work—in fact, many are employed, but that employment is often precarious due to significant challenges created by lack of stable housing.
By aligning our workforce and homelessness services and housing systems, we can better connect individuals to employment with livable wages and permanent housing, achieving long-term and positive outcomes for individuals, families, and our communities.
Programs designed to connect people to employment need to be accessible and responsive to people who have experienced homelessness. In addition to eliminating programmatic barriers, best practices need to be implemented across the country, and employment strategies need to be coordinated with housing and other interventions.
The good news is that there are new opportunities for those who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)—the first legislative reform of the public workforce system since 1998—will help individuals access employment, education, training, and support services in the labor market.
The Council is pursuing the following strategies:
- Coordinate employment services with housing and homelessness assistance to ensure that job development and training strategies focus attention on people who are experiencing or most at risk of homelessness and support their long-term housing stability.
- Review federal program policies, procedures, and regulations to identify educational, administrative, or regulatory mechanisms that could be used to improve access to work support.
- Identify ways WIOA and TANF programs can help people who are experiencing or most at risk of homelessness, including people with multiple barriers to employment.
- Develop and disseminate best practices on helping people with histories of homelessness and barriers to employment enter the workforce, including strategies that take into consideration transportation, child care, child support, domestic violence, criminal justice history, disabling conditions, limited work experience, and age appropriateness.
- Improve system-wide coordination and integration of employment programs with homeless assistance programs, survivor assistance programs, and housing and permanent supportive housing programs.
- Increase opportunities for work and support recovery for Veterans with barriers to employment, especially Veterans returning from active duty, Veterans with disabilities, and Veterans in permanent supportive housing.