Employing Homeless People: The Why’s and How’s

Written by Luke Kitchen
Last updated January 19, 2022

No one deserves to be homeless. But the reality is that many homeless people need a job and can’t find employment because of their homeless status. This article will explore why more businesses should consider employing homeless people and the benefits homeless employees can bring to the company. 

In many cases, despite being qualified and ready to work, there are several barriers to employment for homeless people. Homeless individuals typically don’t have the money for transportation costs or other travel expenses that may be required when getting to and from an employer’s location of business. And without having any place to live, homeless people may not have access to the resources they need to shower or shave before meeting with employers for an interview. Stigma is also a significant contributor to homeless unemployment as many people are ignorant of the diverse array of factors contributing to homelessness in the UK. 

Why Consider Hiring Homeless People 

Showing Compassion 

First of all, homeless people are just people. Often, homeless people have work experience or a good level of education but can’t find a job because of their homeless status. They may be considered unemployable by employers due to having a poor record with previous jobs or not being able to provide references from past employees that the employer trusts. This doesn’t mean they’ll make bad employees. Employing homeless people would give them a chance to get their lives back on track.

Unlimited Potential 

Homeless people have unlimited potential and may thrive in the perfect job. Like any employee, hiring a homeless person could massively enrich your team. Homeless people may also offer a unique, new perspective to the work environment, which could be infinitely valuable. 

Loyalty 

Homeless employees can be loyal and hard-working. Most homeless people are trying as hard as possible to change their current situation and find a job that allows them to earn money to leave homelessness behind. In addition, homeless people are often homeless due to a personal crisis. This means that homeless people have more motivation than many other employees because they don’t want their current situation to continue indefinitely. 

Reducing Poverty in the Community 

Hiring homeless people is one way businesses can help reduce poverty and homelessness in the wider community. Poverty is cyclical, and homeless people can’t get out of poverty if they aren’t employed. By hiring homeless people locally, you may uplift an entire community as homeless people spend their money and buy goods from other local businesses in the community. 

There are also incentives to employers for hiring homeless people, as you may be eligible to receive government subsidies if you hire homeless employees under specific programs. 

The Hiring Process 

Employing homeless people can be a reasonably straightforward process. Some homeless individuals already have the required identification needed to work (driver’s license, passport, or national insurance), but some may require some help in getting a valid ID. Many homeless people also tend to be open about their homeless status, so they may not mind disclosing this information if asked during an interview. 

The best way for homeless people to get hired is by offering employers a temporary work contract that outlines how much they will pay homeless workers per hour or week. This contract should include how homeless people will be paid (cash, card transfer, or cheque), where they’ll work, when they’re allowed to take breaks, and when they can go home early. Homeless people must know their rights throughout their employment, especially if the business decides not to hire them after the temporary worker contract expires. This protects both the employee and the employer. 

More businesses should hire homeless individuals because homeless people are just as capable of performing work tasks and jobs as anyone else. They can provide quality labour, perform well on the job, be great employees, and can be more motivated and loyal than non-homeless employees. Being homeless may have also given them an alternate point of view which could provide companies with a competitive edge.  

If you are a homeless job seeker, you can find support and resources on our website alongside information on education and training, funding and job application tips. You can find out what opportunities are available to you now on our jobs board. Alternatively, if you are an employer considering hiring homeless people, you can find out more about the benefits of employing homeless people on our website. Feel free to contact us with any additional queries, and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter to keep up to date with all of the latest news and information from Refreshing a Career.

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Last Updated: Wednesday June 8 2022
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