Unemployment is a prominent factor in the persistence of homelessness across the country. In Los Angeles County, 46% of unsheltered adults cited unemployment or a financial reason as a primary reason why they are homeless (LAHSA, 2019a). Researchers have estimated unemployment rates among people experiencing homelessness ranging from 57% to over 90% compared to 3.6% for the general United States population (Acuña & Ehrlenbusch, 2009; Institute for Children, Poverty & Homelessness, 2013; Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2020a). Being unemployed while experiencing homelessness also makes it difficult to exit homelessness, and people experiencing homelessness face a range of barriers to employment (Poremski et al., 2014). However, even though unemployment rates are high among people experiencing homelessness, evidence also suggests that many people experiencing homelessness want to work and, with the right supports and opportunities, can achieve positive employment outcomes (Shaheen & Rio, 2007). This literature review will synthesize research on unemployment as it relates to homelessness as well as promising strategies for facilitating the employment of people experiencing homelessness.
Homelessness and Employment
Homelessness Policy Research Institute