Jobs For Homeless People

I’ve tried writing about this before. And as often happens, when I read over old posts, I find them lacking. I can do a better job of explaining things. I’ll try to do so this time as well.

What homeless people need, so to best get back into the work force, is a service that can help connect them to employers willing to help the homeless. This service would do three things. First it would find employers who are willing to hire the homeless. Second, it would find homeless people who are able and available to work. (some homeless people have issues that would preclude them from employment, such as addictions and mental health issues). Third it would create a vetting process by which the best candidates for employment would be matched up with potential employers. It’s really no different than any other job service, except that it deals with the specific needs and issues of the homeless. There are employers out there who are willing the hire the homeless, and there are homeless people who are qualified and are willing to work. But the unique situation of homelessness often makes it difficult for employers and potential employees to find each other. Most importantly, this service should be provided by real people getting involved and making things happen by getting to know both employers and potential employees. Automation would just not work in this situation.

For homeless people, it would be a great relief to know that the employer they are going to interview with has already been apprised of their homeless status, and that the issue of being homeless is not necessarily going to be an obstacle to employment. Homeless people can than relax enough so to focus on having a good job interview – developing a good relationship with the potential employer – and not wasting time worrying about how to dodge certain questions concerning their homeless situation.

Employers also have certain needs in hiring people, especially homeless people. I imagine most employers don’t want to spend a great deal of time finding qualified applicants, neither do they have the time, usually, to learn all the specifics of how to deal with the different homeless types, trying to figure out which would be the best candidate for a job. It would work out much better for them to hear from a knowledgeable third party whom best to hire. And I’m sure most employers would appreciate being told up front by an expert in homelessness, how best to deal with the specific needs of homeless employees, such as scheduling and transportation issues for the employee.

Posting job openings on a board or web site, for any homeless person to find and attempt to apply for is problematic in a number of ways, which I don’t think I have to elaborate on. This particular service requires a real person as liaison. Doing so would insure a much higher rate of success, homeless people would be more likely to apply for jobs and potential employers would not be discouraged by any potential negative experience.


About Kevin Barbieux

I have been diagnosed as being chronically homeless. I write about my experiences and opinions of being homeless


  1. Hi Margaret:

    I would love to hear how you solved your homeless situation?

    I will be 55 in September, living in a homeless shelter of which I have to be out of by the 31st due to not being able to find a job. We have 30 days to do this. If we find a job by then, we get to stay another 120 days.



  2. Wow, I am touched by these stories, comments and ideas. My family is not yet homeless but if I do not get a job by end of this month, the possibility of being homeless will be very real to us. I am in South Africa, good education and have built a career in HR. I am hopeful that I will get a job soon and save my house. This experience has taught me to look at the homeless differently. They are people. Many of them were once like us. They ran out of luck and for many no one was there to help save them from their misery, eventually they lost hope and were forgotten, written off by society. Some started fibding comfort in drugs and alcohol, many comnitted suicide, some have some form of mental sickness due to abuse, exclusion and constantly fighting for their right to live. It can happen to can happen to you. I have made a decision to start an organization that will support people that are at risk of losing their homes, so that they do not become psychologically homeless and hopeless. I also like the employment service idea. I will definately follow up on it. Will need to get shelters, social workers and the crc involved. It is a big project that can make a huge difference to soneobe' life. God bless the person who started this blog for through your inspired thinking, many homeless people will get help that they would not otherwise have received.


  3. I have just found this article and was quite intrigued as being formerly homeless. The recession had proved that the instability of good jobs and health services are scarce. I became homeless like many because of the following, underemployment, low pay (living paycheck to paycheck), unstable family r relationships and medical emergencies. And it is not only the fact of being physically homeless but the psych-social aspect to think about as well. Though I am not homeless no longer I still have lingering problems that stem from this. I think it is important t understand that there are many factors that don't come into question by society in large. Creating a human perspective is important, because being marginalized for something beyond your own circumstance should be a crime. I am thinking f making a blog and connecting with others. Perhaps I might find some healing for these pen wounds in it wish me luck.


  4. I liked reading this article because as a New Yorker I always want to find ways to help homeless people through solidarity work. There was a time that I tried to help someone by researching through the public library about jobs and housing for the homeless and found a construction job which I thought he would like.

    However being that I am not a professional, it was hard to know if my researched actually helped. It probably didn't because homeless people need constant services and need to make sure they not only find jobs but keep them.

    I was searching more on the web and found this organization called “project renewal”. While there are many project organizations like this, I really liked their work ethic. They don't only provide all the services that a homeless person might need from addiction to the mentally ill, they make sure to search for the jobs that match with their client's interests and skills which they all get trained for. I love to know places like this exist. I hope to soon give them a monthly donation for all their hard work.


  5. Thats an awesome website, its theres nothing for South Africa?


  6. Dear afcf9388….,

    I'll take your comment on face value, although there is a lot in your story that has me wanting to ask more questions, like why you didn't even mention the VA – and what exactly is this problem the military caused that prevents you from going to a shelter or renting a 'room.?' You also say you are working on your PhD. Wow, you have time and money to do that but not to find suitable living arrangements?

    you said ” they said it would be hard to get me a place to live because of my credit and my wages.” 'Hard' is not 'impossible.'

    Being that you are a Vet, I'd say go to your local churches, they love to help out vets.

    I bet help is closer than you think.


  7. You are so prejudice and one-minded that it makes me sick! You act like you know soooo much about the homeless, but you are nearly clueless. There are numerous people who are homeless that are just down on their luck. Many have lost their jobs; thus, causing them to loose everything. Some have come home from the miliary and can't find a job; thus causing them to become homeless. I am homeless and I have a Master's Degree and I'm working on my PhD. I get a check for a military service connected disabilty, but it's not enough to live on. I can't live in a shelter because of what happened in the military. I have a car, and a friend in her 4th stages of cancer. I stay in a hotel until the money runs out then I stay in my car or ask a friend if it's to cold outside. I've tried to get a job, but I've “job hopped” alot and can't seem to get around that issue. My credit is too bad to even think about getting an apartment. I've called the homeless hotline, and received a call back and was told to go to the Red Cross or Salvation Army – what? I just told them I can't stay in a shelter (or a 'room' in a person's home) because of what happened to me in the military! I've talked to Social Workers, they told me to work with real estate agents – they said it would be hard to get me a place to live because of my credit and my wages. I'm in a “catch 22” and I don't know where else to go or what else to do. I need a program like this. I'm a great worker – I just seem to get with companies that have huge layoffs or closures. Tell me, mister know it all, what do I do now?


  8. I understand how it sounds like a good idea, but trust me, it doesn't work that way in the real world. One issue is that many homeless people are not that technically inclined to use a computer for this purpose. Another issue has to do with trust. In the process of a person becoming homeless, a few bad things happen so that the person loses their trust in others. So it requires a case manager first developing a good relationship with the homeless person and then helping them along the way to employment. And there are many many factors that need to be considered when hiring a homeless person, more so than in just hiring a non-homeless person. And potential employers will not know this information, and won't have the time and resources to figuring it all out. Having a third party involved that both the homeless person and the employer can trust will make the process more tenable.


  9. I think volunteersue's idea is great. A homeless job website can provide a good start for homeless people. Anyways, the employers can qualify the homeless applicants during interview and background check.

    Also, the employers agreed to hire the homeless to begin with. They are aware and ready for possible issues and ramifications that come with the decision. In short, they know that there could be possible problems associated with the homeless.


  10. As with most any non-profit, they run off of charitable donations. you know, the goodness of people's hearts.


  11. how would this service survive the costs of operation?

    would the employer give some of the new employees wage to the service like a regular manhunter service?


  12. Maybe I'm just a good-intentioned volunteer with a dream. I'm stool going to try and make some connections and not give up-yet!


  13. There are some major privacy issues involved. A shelter cannot give out information about people staying with them unless they follow a more formal procedure. A shelter could be a good place for an employment service. But from what I've seen, shelters are not able to maintain such services. Also, it seems no one wants to do all the work involved for free. And shelters would rather spend money on other things. So, it be best if a separate non-profit organization was created, specifically for the job service. It could, though, work within the shelter, so to give full access to the homeless. The idea is a good one, but it is one that just won't work in any kind of automated fashion. Real people need to be involved in the process, and real people need to be paid for doing the work of bringing employers and the homeless together in a successful way.


  14. True, but I guess I was thinking that if the person was living in a shelter, the employer would be able to get some background information on the person beforehand from the shelter. I did find this-which looks perfect, except it must not exist anymore-I'm unable to contact them through any of the links.


  15. Such an application would be problematic, as such issues as mental illness and addiction cannot be properly revealed or explained on a job application or resume. Imagine an employer seeing a resume that looks good, and so invites the person to interview, only to find out that the person thinks he is Jesus incarnate, and that he hits the crack pipe twice a day.


  16. I am a volunteer at a homeless shelter and would love to start some type of networking system where willing employers could post their jobs online and the homeless(in shelters) could post their resumes of skills, experience, etc online and possibly match up. Any ideas on how realistic this is or how it could be done.


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