A Workforce and Housing System that Works for Everyone

Helping people find employment is an important strategy to prevent and end homelessness. New research and on-the-ground experiences show that these efforts are most effective when homeless service and public workforce systems have a close partnership.

A recent study from the Heartland Alliance’s National Initiatives on Poverty and Economic Opportunity draws from in-depth interviews with leaders in both systems and from the continuing work of Heartland Alliance’s five Connections Project sites. The study, “Systems Work Better Together: Strengthening Public Workforce & Homeless Service Systems Collaboration,” identifies common barriers to collaboration between systems and recommends how to overcome these obstacles in order to connect people experiencing homelessness with jobs and stable housing.

For more than two years, one community has followed this blueprint. Secure Jobs Connecticut connects families in Connecticut to the jobs, training, education, and other supports (e.g., child care and transportation) necessary to gain — and sustain — a job. A project of the Melville Charitable Trust and 25 other funders, Secure Jobs Connecticut is a model for public workforce and homeless service systems collaboration. Frontline staff member Caitlin described their success:

“Secure Jobs fills that gap in terms of binding those two systems together so that we understand each other, we understand the needs of our clients from both the housing and workforce perspective, and we understand the way to keep people stably housed is to get them employed.”

To learn more about this project, check out this video with Caitlin and her colleague, Justin:

For more information on employment for people experiencing homelessness, contact Mary Gable at mgable@naeh.org.