Inclusion Through Employment for People Who Are Homeless


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Presentation given by Silke Paasche, FEANTSA Policy Officer, at a FEANTSA conference on "Multiple barriers, Multiple solutions: Inclusion into and through employment for people who are homeless in Europe", Zaragoza, Spain, 2007

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Inclusion Through Employment for People Who Are Homeless

  1. 1. Draft FEANTSA European Report 2007 Multiple barriers, Multiple Solutions:Inclusion into and through Employment for People who are homeless FEANTSA Annual European Conference Zaragoza, 19 October 2007
  2. 2. Why employment? The role of employment for the inclusion of people Barriers to engagement and employment Efforts to overcome barriers Challenges for the future
  3. 3. Preparation of the report Questionnaire was sent out to all FEANTSA member organisations in the European Union Received 16 national reports: European Report provides overview about the main findings of the national reports
  4. 4. Employment profiles Majority of people are unemployed or economically inactive A significant proportion are working Spain: around 12 % have a job Netherlands: around 10 % have a paid job Finland: 4% of the people surveyed by the Social Welfare Office of Helsinki were employed Austria: in the city of Vienna approximately 14% had at least an occasional job at the entry to a homeless service
  5. 5. Where do people who are homeless work? Mainstream labour market  Restaurants, retail, construction Social Economy  Social cooperatives, social enterprises Role of the Informal Economy  If low levels of social benefits  If “work does not pay” Income generating activities
  6. 6. Working Conditions High percentage of temporary and occasional work  Can be a step into mainstream labour market  Risk of low income Precarious employment  Lack of social security  Lack of continuity and move-on options
  7. 7. Barriers to Employment I Lack of job opportunities  Structural changes in the labour market  Lack of low-skilled jobs for people who are homeless Personal barriers  e.g. debt problems, domestic violence  Question of cause and effect: are linked with structural and societal barriers
  8. 8. Barriers to Employment II Housing barriers and barriers to housing  Lack of adequate and affordable housing  Lack of access to housing  Lack of supported housing/ move-on options Health barriers  Mental health, drug and alcohol addiction, dual diagnosis
  9. 9. Barriers to Employment III Barriers related to education  Low levels of secondary education  Lack of basic skills: literacy, numeracy Discrimination and stigmatisation  Ignorance about the living situations of people who are homeless in the general population  Stigmatisation linked to physical appearance
  10. 10. Barriers to Employment IV Barriers related to services  Lack or inadequacy of services Barriers related to transport  Lack and costs of public transport Barriers related to access to information  Capacity to use Internet and telephone with a view to access information about job or training opportunities
  11. 11. Gender specific barriers and barriers for migrants Gender specific barriers  Experience of domestic violence  Lack of childcare services Barriers for migrants  Precarious legal status
  12. 12. Right to work and employment initiatives for people who are homeless No justiciable right to work Employment policies for disadvantaged groups  Difficulties to integrate people who are homeless Employment policies for people experiencing homelessness
  13. 13. Programmes and projects Variety of programmes and projects in most countries, quantity varies from one country to another Important role of NGOs and social economy More difficult in countries where no policy framework exist
  14. 14. Unemployment and social benefits In general, people experiencing homelessness have the same rights to entitlements Difference between earnings related benefits and minimum income Disability benefits Housing benefits Other forms of social benefits
  15. 15. Problems regarding benefits I Level of benefits  Not high enough to ensure a decent living Structure of benefits  Financially unattractive for people to seek regular employment
  16. 16. Problems regarding benefits II Conditions linked to benefits: (“willingness to work”)  Risk to force people in jobs that are not adapted to their needs  Risk of social welfare dependency Access to benefits  Without an address = no access to benefits  Difficulties to follow administrative procedures
  17. 17. Employment services for people who are homeless Advice and counselling: most common service Supported employment: very common Vocational training and education: often mainstream but in some countries also specialised Life-skills training and meaningful occupation: level varies from one country to another In-work support: Crucial but often underdeveloped
  18. 18. Cooperation and funding Cooperation of different stakeholders  Partnerships exist  Levels of cooperation differ significantly Funding for employment services  Need for stable, sufficient and long-term funding
  19. 19. Indicators, data collection and research Need for more qualitative indicators Need for more and better statistics on homelessness in general, including employment profiles of people Need for more research: some research on employment and homelessness
  20. 20. A holistic and personalised approach Integration of employment dimension into homelessness strategies remains a challenge Need for an holistic approach:  Housing, health, employment, social relations Need for a personalised approach  Initial and ongoing assessment of needs and aspirations of every individual  Development of a personalised action plan
  21. 21. Thank you!