Get A Job Revisited

Posted: October 28, 2007 in Discrimination, Employment, Goals, Homelessness, Misconceptions, Poverty

Over the past few days I’ve been noticing that someone or a number of "someones" have been doing Google searches to ask the question: "Why don’t the homeless get jobs."

Google adds this blog as one of the links.

Although I’ve addressed this particular issue in a number of my more recent posts, I’ve seen where perhaps I should address this topic again – but most because I’m not sure if the question being asked is about why it seems that the homeless don’t want to get a job, or if the question is why the homeless aren’t able to employment. While to many it may seem that they are one in the same, let me assure you that they aren’t.  

The truth is that there are indeed those homeless who don’t want to find employment. They are content to live on the fringes of society taking whatever "crumbs" the rest of the world is ready to throw their way. I have nothing to say in their defense. They’ve chosen to live their lives without being responsible for their actions. So that pretty much answers why some of the homeless don’t get jobs – they don’t want to work.

On the other hand, there are quite a number of homeless who would love to find employment that would provide them with sufficient income to sustain a non-homeless life. It’s because of them that I continue to write this blog. They are the ones that society should be seeking viable ways of providing the necessary help.

Those homeless who want to find employment discover that there are numerous barriers that prevent them from doing so. Primary among those roadblocks is discrimination based on the stereotypical views of what homelessness is about and why a person finds themselves homeless.

It is difficult for a person who is carrying perhaps all of their worldly belongings around with them to be taken seriously by prospective employers. Furthermore, since homelessness doesn’t readily extend itself to being dressed to the nines, the limited wardrobe that most homeless have works against them.

Then of course there is the fact that the unemployment rate, which currently is at about 4.6%, is expected to reach as high a 5.2% by mid next year. That means that millions of additional Americans will also not be able to find employment. Some of those will unfortunately find themselves homeless.

The fact sheet: "Employment and Homelessness," which can be found on the National Coalition for the Homeless web site states the following:

"As bad as it is for the 15% of homeless people who have jobs and can’t escape homelessness, climbing out of homelessness is virtually impossible for those without a job. For those with limited skills or experience, opportunities for jobs that pay a living wage are very limited. In such a competitive environment, the difficulties of job seeking as a homeless person can be almost insurmountable barriers to employment."

Perhaps it’s time we allowed ourselves to mature socially and accept the reality that not all homeless persons want to be homeless. At this juncture in their lives, they simply have no other alternative available to them and, they will not have a chance to raise their standard of living unless we are willing to look past the stereotypes and reach out with a compassionate and helping hand.

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