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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

2018-06-01 - HUD Systems Performance_8 out of 10

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

Partners II

“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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Integrating Rapid Re-Housing Programs and Policy With Employment Is Essential to Ending Family Homelessness

By Caitlin C. Schnur, Policy Associate, Heartland Alliance’s National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity

2015-07-28 - HA National Initiatives Blog for NAEH_PHOTO

As our new paper about integrating rapid re-housing and employment makes clear, far too many families in the United States are experiencing or at risk of homelessness for economic reasons. On a single night in January 2016, about 194,716 people in families with children were homeless. Over 1.2 million students nationwide were identified as experiencing homelessness at some point during the 2014-2015 school year, a figure that includes students who were living doubled up, in a motel, or in temporary housing for reasons including their family’s economic hardship.

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Workforce Development Programs Are Key for Those Struggling to Pay Rent

By Hilary Gawrilow, Federal Policy Director, Corporation for Supportive Housing and Caitlin C. Schnur, Coordinator, National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity 

4  Spotlight on Poverty  Opportunity pic

Affordable rental housing is in short supply and the availability of subsidies to assist extremely low-income renters has not changed in over a decade. Only one out of four eligible households actually receives federal rental assistance. Various policy proposals have been put forth to increase the turnover in the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s assisted housing stock, including imposing work requirements and time limits.

Time limits and work requirements for families receiving housing assistance through HUD will undo years of progress and push people back into poverty. Rather than cutting off assistance, efforts would be better spent ensuring that those struggling to find a job and pay rent have access to robust workforce development services through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) that meet their employment needs and interests.

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How WIOA & HUD Combined State Planning Can Benefit Homeless Jobseekers

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

2015-11-04 - Combined State Planning

Employment in quality jobs is key to preventing and ending homelessness—yet millions of homeless jobseekers face significant barriers to employment success. Fortunately, there’s growing awareness and accountability in the homeless services system around increasing employment and economic opportunity for people experiencing homelessness. At the same time, under the recently passed Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), the public workforce system aims to increase employment opportunities for jobseekers facing barriers, including homeless jobseekers. There’s clearly a shared goal here—and WIOA implementation offers a unique opportunity for these systems to work together: WIOA and HUD combined state planning.

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