SFC Crash Course: Unemployment and Homelessness
Why Work-Related Training is Essential to SFC Programs
The state of California is uniquely positioned to struggle with homelessness. We have a large population, sky-high housing costs, and not always enough work to go around. This combination of factors makes it so California has one of the highest homelessness rates in the nation.
And it should come as no surprise that 46 percent of the homeless population of Los Angeles County says that unemployment is the number one reason they are homeless, according to the Homelessness Policy Research Institute. People experiencing homelessness are disproportionately impacted by unemployment and underemployment, but many want to work and can’t find or hold on to work.
Lack of income is the most direct, apparent cause of homelessness. If you don’t have a job, you can’t pay rent—simple as that. But is it really that simple? Would employment for all homeless individuals instantly solve homelessness? At Solutions for Change, we think employment is one of the most important steps to overcoming homelessness, but it’s not just about getting a job—it’s about keeping and growing in a job. Let’s examine how people become chronically unemployed and how Solutions solves these problems to help people live with more stability.
How chronic unemployment and homelessness feed into each other
The Churn, a cycle of hardship, handouts and more hardship, can keep a family trapped in homelessness, dependency and unemployment for generations. If a child grows up in an environment where the parents are never consistently employed, then the child has fewer opportunities to model the behavior of a strong, reliable employee. People stick with what they know, so those raised through unemployment and homelessness will likely continue down that path with few ways to escape. Without the ability to maintain employment, homelessness persists through the generations.
How Solutions for Change builds people into excellent employees
Many people we work with have never had any trouble maintaining work and struggle with homelessness for other reasons. Many others, however, have been in and out of jobs their entire lives and never feel truly secure in their employment. For those individuals, we place a heavy emphasis on our work-related training in Solutions Academy.
Solutions Academy teaches everything you need to know about being a successful, reliable employee. We get down to the root causes of people’s struggles with unemployment and solve them. We teach teamwork, trust, honesty, accountability and dedication by having our students work on Solutions Farms. They put in the work as a team and see the direct reward of their efforts through the produce we grow. This is an extremely effective way to prepare people to really sustain themselves as employees and genuinely helps people overcome homelessness.
Once our students are prepared to seek employment, we teach courses about job hunting and interviewing. Our team gives people the skills they missed out on when they were in The Churn. Because of their newfound knowledge and tenacity, they break free of the habits of earlier generations.
To learn more about how Solutions for Change is fighting back against chronic unemployment and homelessness, visit solutionsforchange.org/jointhefight and start your journey as an advocate against homelessness.