What Continuum of Care System Performance Data Tell Us—& What We Still Need to Know—About Advancing Economic Opportunity for Homeless Jobseekers

By Caitlin C. Schnur, Policy Associate, National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity

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In late April, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released the 2016 Continuum of Care (CoC) system performance data. As a part of an effort to understand how CoCs operate as a system to prevent and end homelessness within their jurisdictions, CoCs are required to collect and report on a variety of performance measures including employment and income growth for adults staying in and exiting the homeless service system. The data set from HUD is packed full of important information that can help stakeholders understand how to better end homelessness in their communities. Here are some of our initial takeaways from the 2016 data, with a specific focus on Measure #4, employment and income growth of people experiencing homelessness.

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New Report: Systems Work Better Together

By Caitlin C. Schnur, Policy Associate, National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity

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“On the workforce side, it’s terrifying when someone’s housing is unstable—how are they going to maintain their job search or keep their job? At the same time, for homeless services providers to really end homelessness, they need to help people meet their economic as well as housing goals. Both systems need each other.” –Nancy Phillips, Heartland Human Care Services, Inc., Chicago, IL

Employment success and housing stability go hand in hand. Although the public workforce and homelessness service systems both serve people experiencing homelessness and jobseekers experiencing housing instability, they don’t often work together. Systems collaboration is necessary to ensure clients can access stable housing, employment, and economic opportunities.

Our new report provides background about the structures, responsibilities, and funding of the workforce and homelessness service systems. Grounded in existing policy frameworks, our report gives actionable steps that stakeholders can take to enhance collaboration between their systems—and provides community-level examples where these ideas are underway.

Here are four takeaways:

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#PathwaysForward: A National Convening Focused on Elevating & Advancing Employment to Prevent & End Homelessness

By Carrie Felton, Graduate Intern, National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity

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ImageThink graphic recorders captured and beautifully illustrated ideas generated at the convening.

The event, Preventing & Ending Homelessness Through Employment: Lessons Learned & Pathways Forward (#PathwaysForward), was sponsored by Heartland Alliance’s National Center on Employment & Homelessness (NCEH), the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), and Funders Together to End Homelessness (FTEH) with support from the Melville Charitable Trust and Oak Foundation.

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Ideas for Incorporating Trauma-Informed Care into Employment Services

By Tara Maguire, Workforce Research & Policy Fellow, National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity

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Practitioners are increasingly recognizing the importance of incorporating trauma-informed care into social service settings, including employment services. While minimal literature exists on how to incorporate trauma-informed practices and principles into employment services specifically, our recent webinar, Integrating Trauma-Informed Care into Employment Services, shares lots of ideas for getting started.

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Trump’s Support for Apprenticeships Falls Short

By Melissa Young, Director, National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity

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For some, the recent unveiling of President Trump’s Executive Order (EO) pledging to expand apprenticeships nationwide – programs that allow workers to “earn and learn” on the job – was a welcome action in keeping with his campaign promise to get millions of Americans back to work. Unfortunately, the EO itself and this administration’s actions so far are in direct conflict with the goal of expanding these programs. They fail to dismantle the historic and current inequities that prevent access to apprenticeship programs for millions of individuals.

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