In 2017, we launched an effort to help recently-housed individuals earn a living wage. Through this two-year pilot, we found that formerly homeless individuals faced significant barriers to securing full-time, living wage employment and achieving longer-term economic mobility.
For one, recently-housed individuals often lack one or more of the requisite job skills needed to succeed in the workforce. Many also continue to struggle with trauma from their time on the streets that can affect their motivation or preparedness to take on and maintain full-time work. In addition, many people with lived experience have significant employment gaps or a criminal history, making them less attractive to prospective employers in a competitive job market. Thus, it should come as little surprise that only 17% of employed clients in our Supportive Housing System make $17.50/hour or more.
From this assessment, it became clear that formerly homeless individuals need specialized employment assistance and graduated pathways towards living-wage employment in order to increase economic mobility and long-term housing stability.