Individuals rebuilding lives from homeless in a transitional housing program often have a difficult time finding employment even in the best of economies. Yet, when they have a job they are more likely to succeed in the transitional housing program.
Leaders of such programs intuitively know the positive relationship between housing and employment from experience. Indeed, the importance of healthy employment environments for transitional program participants was one of the reasons behind the formation of Bud’s Warehouse and Belay Enterprises 15 years ago. Yet, we’ve found it difficult to find studies that substantiate what seems so obvious.
I recently became aware of a 2007 Urban Institute study of L.A. Hope, a federal housing and employment demonstration project in Los Angeles. This study gives empirical evidence that when homeless residential providers connect housing with intensive employment services individuals with large barriers to employment succeed in jobs while maintaining their housing.
The report underscores the importance of jobs and employment services to the success of the chronically homeless. It’s something the Faithventure Forum has advocated for the last two years. We are also big believers in the additional effectiveness of programs that include faith as part of the employment and housing mix. Though this study only looks at a secular federal housing program, we believe that one that looks at a faith-based program with a similar approach will achieve even higher rates of success.
It is important to inspire followers of Christ with entrepreneurial business skills to use those talents to build faith venture businesses that provide specialized opportunity for individuals rebuilding lives from homelessness or prison. It can mean the difference between success and failure for a chronically homeless person trying to make a change.