With over 320,00 people now experiencing homelessness in Britain according to official figures, the need to enable people in that position – from rough sleepers and couch surfers to those in temporary or supported accommodation – to create secure and stable futures for themselves is essential from both a social and economic standpoint.
With low paid work and welfare shifts – alongside inadequate levels of social or affordable housing combined and budget cuts to local government services – businesses have a significant part to play in enabling people in challenging circumstances to earn an income, afford a home and reintegrate into their local communities.
Yet, despite there being an estimated 6,000 households across Greater Manchester experiencing homelessness, an estimated 88% – or 4,800 people – willing to work and significant skills gaps in the tech and construction industries across the region, job roles aren’t being offered to or filled by some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
The third and public sector already enable disadvantaged people to build confidence, retrain and become ready for work. Yet there is little post-placement support, and the job clubs and programmes which exist to match individuals with roles place small numbers due to limited resources and networks within which to scale.
As a result. 56% of people are out of work for up to five years, further exacerbating the personal challenges that often lead people to become homeless in the first place. Aggravated mental health and addiction challenges, plus ongoing relationship breakdowns and new vulnerable situations can all impact an individual’s esteem and support network further.
That, despite 88% of individuals having worked before becoming homeless, with education, skills and experience all transferable to new roles. Questions therefore need to be asked of why businesses – 7% which have recruited before with 64% intending to in future (Noisy Cricket, 2018) – haven’t employed people who have experienced homelessness.
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