With rising numbers of homelessness across the U.K. – the vast majority of those hidden from sight in hostels, temporary accommodation such as B&B’s or couch surfing – thinking of the long-term prospects, as much as the immediate needing of support and housing, is essential.
That goes for those people struggling and the stretched charities and public sector teams addressing the increase in demand for services that comes with a 4% surge in homelessness since 2017 alone, and local government and funding budget cuts, meaning supporting those most in need has become increasingly challenging.
That’s why helping people achieve stability is so essential. Yet, with so many people seeing (and believing) rough sleeping as the only experience of homelessness, it can be hard to understand how some of the most vulnerable individuals we see on our streets might be able to maintain a job, bringing an income, the ability to afford a home and a community that so many in this position need.
With rough sleepers estimated to account for less than 2% the country’s homeless population, and 88% of those who have experienced homelessness willing to work according to Crisis, there is more potential and opportunity than initially meets the eye, and the possibility of a secure and stable future within all our collective grasp.
With the HI Future project, our community of businesses, homeless charities and public sector teams will be working with those people impacted to co-create a homeless employment solution that will remove business barriers to offering opportunities and working with those organisations already helping people get ready for work.
For those looking to have a direct impact sooner rather than later – we’ll be researching, mapping and building the HI Future solution throughout 2019 – here are some of the amazing initiatives across Greater Manchester that you as a business can support now.
Many homeless charities run jobs clubs, with CV writing sessions, interview technique practise and support applying for jobs are all available for those willing and able to re-enter the jobs market. Our partner organisation, Mustard Tree, runs two sessions weekly in Ancoats, Manchester, on Tuesday and Friday from 10am to 12pm.
The Booth Centre in Cheetham Hill too supports people looking to access training and additional qualifications, and like One Manchester – a local housing association – also arranges volunteering or work placements for people in need of experience before placing a person with personal insight into a full-time role.
Get Involved: Volunteer to support with CV building and interview training or hold “meet the employer” days and provide work placement opportunities with your local charity.
Ready to Work
Beyond the practical needs, people often need more personal support to ready themselves for work. Self-esteem, motivational skills and expected workplace behaviours, especially for those people for whom experiencing homelessness may have exacerbated personal challenges, is why programmes like Business in the Community’s (BITC) Ready for Work programme is vital.
“Ready for work” however, can be seen as a subjective assessment, as there are broader needs that are essential, for both the individuals and employers looking to sustain work opportunities. Having a bank account is a typical stumbling block, which our supporter organisation Lloyds Bank are addressing in Greater Manchester, as is the need for a secure and stable home, which the Job Centre recognises as it supports people on benefits as they search for work.
Get Involved: Signing up or sponsoring BITC’s Ready for Work programme is one way of supporting people experiencing homelessness back into work, as is partnering with the DWP on work trials, traineeships or apprenticeships.
Homeless Sector Roles
Experience prior to entering the work place is often essential to help people who have experienced homelessness gain the confidence, routines and support network needed to secure and sustain long-term employment, and the third sector – like our partner organisation Groundwork in Greater Manchester – is particularly adept at creating opportunities.
Launching social enterprises like HM Pasties and Blue Sky North, Groundwork provides jobs for ex-offenders, and for organisations like Shelter, GROW trainees are employed and trained whilst helping develop services for others who have experienced homelessness Manchester.
Get Involved: Hiring a GROW trainee, or making use of the services that enterprises like HM Pasties provides is a great way to offer support, and ensure those gaining confidence and experience continue to develop in their chosen employment paths.
If you’re game to support our cross-sector, collaborative solution to homeless employment, you can always support the HI Future community too.