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Strengthening Pathways to Employment for People Exiting Homelessness

Career opportunities and permanent housing are two important components for Americans exiting homelessness. At the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), we encourage communities to take advantage of the opportunity presented in HUD’s Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the Continuum of Care (CoC) program to further strengthen pathways to employment for people exiting homelessness.

Home, Together, the 2018 revision of the Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness, places increased focus on helping people who exit homelessness to find employment success. Incorporating expertise from within the Federal Government and from stakeholders across America, the plan includes strategies that highlight the importance of connecting people to open jobs that result in upward economic mobility.

This includes increasing in-demand job training and apprenticeship opportunities, addressing barriers to employment like occupational licensing, strengthening the focus on income and employment within homelessness assistance programs, and identifying ways in which federal programs can support individuals who are experiencing homelessness or housing instability.

In order to promote these strategies within communities, HUD added a new employment-related policy priority to the FY 2019 CoC Program NOFA, which is designed to promote a community-wide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness. This new priority incentivizes CoC efforts to promote and increase employment among individuals who are experiencing homelessness and encourages applicants to develop partnerships with the workforce system, local employers, and public and private organizations with the goal of prioritizing job training and employment.

Strategies for communities to increase access to education, training, and employment for this target population include:

  • Developing partnerships with state or local workforce development boards to promote employment opportunities or co-enrollment in workforce and homelessness assistance programs
     
  • Promoting partnerships and access to employment opportunities with private employers and private employment organizations including holding job fairs, outreach to employers, and partnering with staffing agencies
     
  • Strengthening partnerships with local education or training organizations to promote education and training opportunities
     
  • Working with public and private organizations to provide meaningful employment opportunities for residents that are recipients of permanent supportive housing
     
  • Taking steps to increase employment opportunities and income, including but not limited to encouraging training providers to increase employment or create incentives for employment

Workforce development can advance employment and economic opportunities for individuals who are experiencing homelessness or housing instability by:

  • Co-enrolling individuals served by CoC grantees with programs that provide employment, training, and education services, such as those authorized under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and the Employment Service authorized under the Wagner-Peyser Act of 1933
     
  • Encouraging local areas to identify and prioritize funding for evidence-based employment, training, and education services, where appropriate under existing law, rules, and guidance

Interested stakeholders may wish to consider exploring ideas that more closely align employment and training programs with efforts to prevent and end homelessness.

In addition to building strong connections to the public workforce system, stakeholders have an opportunity to discuss other challenges that face Americans exiting homelessness like facilitating access to supportive services such as childcare subsidies and transportation assistance.

Connecting individuals to careers and permanent housing will subsequently achieve long-term, positive outcomes for both those individuals and their communities.

Principal Deputy Assistant David Woll
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Community and Planning Development

Assistant Secretary John P. Pallasch
U.S. Department of Labor
Employment and Training Administration

View additional information about the FY 2019 CoC Program NOFA, including instructions for submitting applications to HUD, on the HUD Exchange.

         
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