Many people who refer in to CENS want to work. Having a stable job can help someone leave homelessness behind for good. It’s an opportunity to live a more independent life.
But for someone who is homeless, there are significant barriers that get in the way of finding a job. Here are just four:
Would you hire someone who you knew was homeless? Unfortunately, the stigma prevents those who are ready to work from securing employment. Unbelievably, four out of 10 employers have admitted they would likely seek to terminate an employees’ contract if they were homeless, according to charity Crisis.
Gaps in employment and a lack of references. Trying to explain gaps in your CV and why you don’t have references from previous employers puts people at a disadvantage. It can mean that they have to divulge their housing situation rather than whether they can do the job on offer.
Living with trauma. To avoid the cycle of homelessness, we advise that residents address the route causes of their housing situation. This could be poor mental health, loss of family connection, substance misuse or physical health problems. Until these are looked at, handling the commitment of working is not always possible. We don’t want to set people up to fail so our focus is on signposting to other agencies that can support in these areas first. Open Road, Cara, Community 360, and Beacon House are all agencies we work with.
Housing first. We always recommend that residents find suitable accommodation before they go back to work or find employment. During their stay, we claim housing benefit for them which means they only have to pay £4 service charge per night. Once they find a private let they can acclimatise to life after CENS and then look for employment.