5 Benefits of Employing the Homeless

Written by Nicola Wylie
Last updated October 24, 2022

An alarming 40% of employers believe it’s illegal to hire homeless people. This is simply not true. Homeless people hold the same employment rights as any other candidate. This lack of clarity surrounding the rights and regulations of employing the homeless creates unnecessary barriers. 

We explore 5 benefits of employing the homeless. 

Challenges Homeless Job Seekers Commonly Face

There is a common misconception that all homeless people are unemployed. This is not the case. That said, it can be much more difficult for homeless job seekers to find work. Employers typically opt for candidates who they deem as more reliable and professional. This usually means candidates with permanent addresses, academic credentials, no gaps in their CV, and professional attire.  As such, most homeless candidates are at a disadvantage.

Many homeless job seekers simply don’t apply for jobs because they don’t believe they will be properly considered. They may not have the ability to dress appropriately for the interview or perhaps lack the means to provide an updated CV. 

While it’s understandable that employers want to hire the most professional candidate possible, they are missing out on an untapped talent pool with huge potential. 

5 Benefits of Employing The Homeless

Let’s take a look at 5 reasons why your business should hire more homeless people.

1. Give Back to the Local Community

The best way to help the homeless community is through employment. Steady employment is a means of securing housing, thus breaking the poverty cycle. 

As an employer, you can directly impact your local community by employing the homeless. Not only will you reduce homelessness in your area, but you will make your local neighbourhood a safer place. In doing so, your community may benefit from increased visitors and a rise in property prices. More importantly, your business will benefit from forming strong bonds with the local community which is the key to long-term business success. 

2. Homeless Workers Have a Wealth of Transferable Skills

It’s easy to overlook homeless candidates due to CV gaps or a lack of professional work experience. However, lived experience is a hugely valuable asset to any business. Many homeless people have developed a strong set of transferable skills from their time on the streets. With some training and support, this skill set can be harnessed and translated to a number of job roles. 

Examples of transferable soft skills include empathy, resilience, resourcefulness, adaptability, and grit. These skills are gold dust for employers as they tend to be hard to train, coming mostly from life experience. 

The NHS has recently participated in a pilot programme to recruit healthcare workers who have previously experienced homelessness. This is a ray of hope for the homeless community as it normalises hiring workers with different life experiences. 

3. Homeless Workers Stay Longer

Homeless job seekers face more hard challenges finding work. As such, they are more likely to remain loyal to the business when they are given an employment opportunity. Employers who take a chance on homeless candidates and invest in their professional growth will be rewarded with loyalty, enthusiasm, and high engagement.  

Considering the fact that retraining is more cost-effective than rehiring, employee loyalty is fundamental in keeping costs down. With UK businesses citing rehiring as one of their biggest expenses, employing the homeless is hugely beneficial for your business.

4. Employing the Homeless Fosters a Diverse and Inclusive Workforce

It’s no secret that diverse workplaces perform better. Research consistently shows that diverse teams are more creative, make better decisions, and have more learning development opportunities. 

If you want to reap the benefits of a truly diverse and inclusive work culture, start by re-examining your recruitment strategy. This means proactively creating homeless job opportunities in your business and adapting your selection process accordingly.

We recommend posting your homeless job opportunities on our career change job board or on our sister website Aspiring to Include. You may also want to partner with local charity organisations that work with the homeless for advice and help in spreading the word. 

Homeless people come from all walks of life and offer your business a fresh new perspective. In turn, your business can learn and grow, becoming a more inclusive and accessible place. Take a look at our guide on how to employ homeless people for further advice on creating job opportunities for homeless people in your business. 

5. Overcome Unconscious Bias at Work

We briefly mentioned overhauling your recruitment strategy in our previous point. Now let’s touch on that in more detail. We all have some level of unconscious bias. As the name suggests, we are usually unaware of our own until it is pointed out. While unconscious bias is common, it shouldn’t be normalised, especially in the workplace. When HR and recruitment teams let unconscious bias slip into the selection process, the company suffers. Typically, the business ends up with a workforce that lacks diversity.

As already covered, diversity is key for any high-performing business. Therefore, removing unconscious bias from the hiring process is essential. This can be done through training and revamping hiring criteria. In addition, it can be achieved through initiatives that promote diverse hiring, including employing the homeless, older workers, and ex-offenders.

Final Thoughts

The benefits of employing homeless people are huge. Not only is it a great chance to give back to the local community, but homeless workers offer a wealth of valuable transferable skills.  What’s more, hiring more homeless people in your organisation fosters a more diverse and inclusive workplace. 

At Refreshing a Career, we want to break the stigma around this and shine a light on the amazing business benefits employing homeless workers can bring. Be sure to browse our website for more resources on funding, training, and building an inclusive workplace.

If you are a homeless job seeker, you’ll find a range of support and resources to help you with your job hunt. From education and training to funding to job application tips, we have you covered. You can also browse the latest opportunities on our jobs board

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Last Updated: Tuesday November 15 2022
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