Research by YouGov found that 40% of employers thought hiring homeless people was illegal, which is completely false. Such misguidance makes it no surprise that many homeless people struggle to find long term-employment and often face discrimination in the process.
In the UK, the reality of the housing situation is such that over one in four homes whose residents work are still at risk of homelessness. That means that many of your own members of staff have unstable living conditions.
Breaking the stigma of hiring homeless candidates
We must overcome the stigmatisations around homelessness, particularly those suggesting that homeless people’s circumstances are entirely self-created. These often include suggestions that all such people are only homeless because they are lazy or severe drug addicts.
This is far from the truth. Furthermore, many consumers are beginning to recognise the situation as such. Instead of feeding into the stigmas by refusing to employ them due to their circumstances, make a positive impact on their lives, your local community and your business by listening to all the benefits of hiring a homeless person:
1. Recognition from the local community
Homelessness is part of a vicious poverty cycle that is best broken by stable employment. With so many communities having an increasing understanding of the realities of impoverishment, displaying your commitment to end those cycles will be positively recognised by your customers.
Not only will your brand improve due to your obvious display of social responsibility, but you will be improving and investing in the state of the locality. As such, you will help to bring more customers into the area and the locals will recognise you as the essential reason for this happening.
2. Loyalty and dedication
Once a homeless person is able to escape that poverty cycle, they are far more likely to do everything they can to stay out of it. This means that homeless or ex-homeless workers are significantly more loyal and dedicated than regular staff members.
This will help to reduce the need to rehire, which research suggests is one of the biggest unnecessary expenditures for UK businesses.
3. Building inclusivity
Establishing your organisations’ brand as socially responsible has to start from within. By hiring people in vulnerable situations, your other staff members will appreciate your desire to become inclusive and overlook stigmas.
This means that they will also become more loyal and dedicated to their jobs, and even recommend experienced professionals in their network who want to work in an inclusive environment.
4. Untapped talent
Given the mass of stigmas surrounding hiring homeless people, there are thousands of homeless people that could have the skills your company needs. Overlooking homeless people means ignoring a host of potential excellence.
Taking this leap of faith could be the thing that sets you apart from your competitors, who are listening to stigmas instead of research.
Providing Extra support
Despite all these benefits, your homeless employee may need some extra support. Everyone is different so the best way to find out what they need is to just ask. However, providing this extra helping hand will let everyone in your company see the personal benefits to working with you.
As mentioned, a lot of your staff could be in an unstable housing situation, so demonstrating that you will support them in such a situation will ensure they fight to stay working there. Such support could include getting in touch with a housing association, a specialist charity or even a counselling service.