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.
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.