Written by: Lauren Anderson
Edited by: Jacqueline Cheung
Dear CCP readers,
For today’s blog, we hope to build upon our post from November 2022, Employment challenges for people facing homelessness, discussing employment challenges for people facing homelessness. We share methods for members of the homeless community to gain employment in their area.
If you would like to learn more information regarding the current state of homelessness in Canada and the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA), welcome! If you are returning for more information about the particular challenges faced by youth experiencing homelessness and those with animal companions, welcome back! If you are new to our blog, welcome to the community and thank you for your interest in learning more about issues regarding the homelessness crisis in Canada and beyond - you are one step closer to becoming a changemaker in your community, and you are in great company.
In our previous post, we had shared that there are several intervention strategies that can help boost employment opportunities for people facing homelessness. These strategies include breaking down structural obstacles, such as work skills training programs, education assistance, and mental/physical health promotion. All of these interventions combat the structural inequities that lead to employment instability for people facing homelessness. It is important that these interventions are focused on to create a more equitable workforce for those from all economic classes.
Homelessness ≠ Unemployed
It is important to recognize that although a large number of people experiencing homelessness have unstable employment, homelessness does not directly equate to being unemployed. In fact, hidden homelessness and reversible homelessness in the workforce are both quite common. When most people think of homelessness, they usually imagine someone who has been homeless and has lived on the street their entire life. While this might be the case for some, living in a state of homelessness can affect many from all backgrounds.
What is hidden homelessness?
Hidden homelessness is usually unreported and undocumented as most of the
people experiencing hidden homelessness, do not have a home of their own, but
might live with a friend or might not have immediate permanent housing available to
them. These people are usually not accounted for in government statistics as
homelessness resources are not usually sought after for this demographic.
What is reversible homelessness?
Reversible homelessness defines a group of people experiencing homelessness who
can expect to reverse this state of living within a matter of time. This demographic
might be experiencing homelessness due to an external factor, which could be
unemployment, but it could also be due to domestic violence, addiction, mental
illness episodes, etc. To live in a state of reversible homelessness, it means that a
person has the financial means to eventually return to a stable housing at some point
in the future.
There is a sizable number of people experiencing homelessness in Canada who are employed and working. In fact, there has been tremendous job growth since 2000, although many of the jobs occupied by members of the homeless community are low-wage jobs. As of 2013, 20% of the homeless community in Toronto were employed. This statistic is still too low, but research has shown that there is promise in increasing job prospects through using job training programs for people experiencing homelessness.
Job Training & Education for People Experiencing Homelessness
Research has shown that collaborative teams can have a tremendous impact against the educational and work barriers faced by people experiencing homelessness. Collaboration also includes organizations that provide job training and education initiatives, employers, and employees. It is important that helping organizations and employers come from a place of compassion and understanding of groups from all backgrounds including, adults with children, veterans, senior citizens, individuals with a criminal record or a history in prison, individuals living with disabilities, individuals living with addiction, and youth in school. Each person requires a personalized approach to best understand the obstacles that have led to their state of homelessness and the job prospects available to them.
Employment training and education facilitated by professionals can be beneficial to categorize and introduce hard skills and soft skills necessary for different jobs on the market. There are some employment training programs available in the GTA:
Ontario Works Training Program: This program prepares people for employment, self-employment, or career advancement, and it provides a monthly stipend for participants that supports any cost necessary for training programs. Training programs cover many industries from administrative and clerical to the arts.
Life stabilization programs are also helpful for people dealing with other external factors including food insecurity, addiction, and mental illness. For example, Ve’ahavta is an individualized program that coordinates care with a case worker to provide care for 12 weeks for 1-2 hours a week.
These programs can be helpful for those in need of coaching or a guide to help them regain employment.
The CCP Impact
The CCP team is passionate about educating our youth for a prosperous and well-rounded future, which is an intervention strategy that we employ for younger members of our community. We actively engage in educational opportunities and career workshops with local schools and organizations to encourage and motivate children and teens to continue school and overcome barriers. If you would like to join our team or support us on our mission, please contact us!
Thank you for reading our blog! Feel free to leave a comment with your feedback and/or insights to help us enrich the quality of future posts and cater to the interests of our community of changemakers.
The CCP Team
1. Cassaday, K. J. (2023, March 11). The 6 types of homelessness - reversible, hidden, and all the rest. CAUF Society. Retrieved March 15, 2023, from https://caufsociety.com/types-of-homelessness/
2. City of Toronto. (2023, March 8). Ontario works training programs in Toronto. City of Toronto. Retrieved March 15, 2023, from https://www.toronto.ca/community-people/employment-social-support/employment-support/training-courses/ontario-works-training-programs-in-toronto/
3. How many people experiencing homelessness are employed? How many people experiencing homelessness are employed? | The Homeless Hub. (n.d.). Retrieved March 15, 2023, from https://www.homelesshub.ca/blog/how-many-people-experiencing-homelessness-are-employed
4. Life stabilization program. Ve'ahavta. (2023, March 14). Retrieved March 15, 2023, from https://veahavta.org/life-stabilization-program/
5. Overcoming employment barriers for populations experiencing homelessness. Overcoming Employment Barriers for Populations Experiencing Homelessness | The Homeless Hub. (n.d.). Retrieved March 15, 2023, from https://homelesshub.ca/resource/overcoming-employment-barriers-populations-experiencing-homelessness
6. Overcoming employment barriers. National Alliance to End Homelessness. (2016, October 25). Retrieved March 15, 2023, from https://endhomelessness.org/resource/overcoming-employment-barriers/