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Launching the Pathways Forward Challenge: Advancing Employment, Equity, and an End to Homelessness

Housing and income are inextricably linked.

Numerous studies find that increased income is a strong predictor of a person exiting homelessness and research tells us that individuals experiencing homelessness consistently rank paid employment alongside healthcare and housing as a primary need. When parents of families experiencing homelessness are asked to name one thing that would most help get their family back on its feet, the most common answer is employment. Over and over again, we find that those experiencing homelessness want to work and often are working already, but are not earning enough to keep a roof over their heads. So despite the fact that people experiencing homelessness want to, need to, and can work, far too few people experiencing homelessness are being connected to employment opportunities and income supports.

That is why, earlier this year, with the support of the Melville Charitable Trust and the Oak Foundation, Heartland Alliance introduced the Pathways Forward Challenge (PWFC) – a call to communities across the nation to create more effective and equitable pathways to employment for people experiencing homelessness through bold systems change and collaboration. Homelessness persists, in part, because public systems fail to connect all homeless jobseekers to equitable pathways to employment and the income necessary for long-term housing stability, and we hope the begin to change the system through our Pathways Forward Challenge.

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

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

pathways

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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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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