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Joint Statement from Federal Partners Identifies Opportunities to Advance Employment and Economic Opportunity for Homeless Jobseekers

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Today, the U.S. Department of Housing (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a joint statement identifying opportunities for the public workforce and homeless service systems to work together to advance employment and economic opportunity for people experiencing homelessness. The statement from the Departments is in response to HUD’s Fiscal Year 2019 Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the homeless service system (the Continuum of Care Program), which identifies employment as a key strategy for ending homelessness and a top priority for communities.

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At Heartland Alliance, we believe that all people experiencing homelessness who want to work should be able to achieve employment and the income needed for long-term housing stability. Through the work of our National Center on Employment & Homelessness, we’ve advocated for the homeless service system to increase incentives for communities to prioritize connecting people experiencing homelessness to employment, training, and education opportunities.

“Through its stated policy priorities, HUD urges that CoCs and CoC-funded projects prioritize training and employment opportunities for people experiencing homelessness.

This is a strong and welcomed signal from HUD that they are seeking to fund community-wide commitments to promote income and employment as a part of preventing and ending homelessness.

No single public system can support pathways to employment and income for homeless jobseekers alone. Today’s joint statement by HUD and DOL reflects important and necessary federal cross-agency collaboration which can be a model for local communities nationwide.”

Melissa Young, Director, National Initiatives

That’s why we were excited to see that this year, HUD added a new employment-related policy priority to the 2019 Continuum of Care Program NOFA. HUD will award points to communities whose funding applications demonstrate strategies to increase access to employment, training, education, and earned income for people experiencing homelessness. We also applaud HUD and DOL for working together to share ideas for how communities can partner across systems to do this work effectively.

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The Long-Term Unemployment Elimination Act: Creating Access to Employment, Equity & Opportunity

factory-factory-worker-girl-1108101At Heartland Alliance, we believe every person deserves the opportunity to succeed in work and support themselves and their families. For over two decades we’ve worked at the intersection of practice, policy, and research to advance solutions that ensure that everyone who wants to work has access to employment opportunities.

We know that the labor market excludes many people who want to work and who can and do work when offered employment opportunities and support. Even when the economy is healthy, millions of individuals struggle to get and keep work due to structural barriers that prevent access to employment and economic opportunity. This is why we’re pleased to see the introduction of the Long-Term Unemployment Elimination Act of 2019 by Senators Van Hollen (D-MD) and Wyden (D-OR).

This legislation would establish a national subsidized employment program for the long-term unemployed with a priority on high-poverty, high unemployment communities.

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The ELEVATE Act Seeks to Reduce Barriers to Employment

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

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At Heartland Alliance, we believe every person deserves the opportunity to succeed in work and support themselves and their families. For over two decades we’ve worked at the intersection of practice, policy, and research to advance bold solutions that ensure that everyone who wants to work has access to employment opportunities.

We know that the labor market excludes many people who want to work and who can and do work when offered employment opportunities and support. Even when the economy is healthy, millions of individuals struggle to get and keep work due to structural barriers that prevent access to employment and economic opportunity. That’s why we’re applauding Senator Wyden (D-OR) and Congressman Davis (D IL-13), who have introduced the Economic Ladders to End Volatility and Advance Training to Employment (ELEVATE) Act.

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Values and Principles to Guide Employment Programming and Policy

By Melissa Young, Director, National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity and Chris Warland, Associate Director for Field Building, National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity

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At Heartland Alliance’s National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity, our policy goals and program recommendations are based on research, evidence, and data—but they are also driven by values rooted in human rights and the dignity of all people. These are the values that have guided our work in the employment field since our inception. This Labor Day, we are reflecting on our commitments and looking forward to help establish these values and principles throughout the nation for the benefit of every person who wants to work.

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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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