Job scheme supporting homeless people proves a success
published on 11 Nov 2022
A job support programme for people who are homeless in London is successfully placing people in jobs.
The programme supports Londoners who struggle to find work, due to barriers related to their homelessness, such as the lack of a secure place to stay, lack of experience in making job applications and managing interviews.
There is also support for people dealing with addiction and mental health problems.
Eight Employment Development Coordinators are currently supporting people, including rough sleepers, into jobs. The team works at outreach sites across London, including Salvation Army churches, to carry out this work in communities.
The Salvation Army’s Employment Plus team is delivering the programme, funded by the European Social Fund and supported by The Mayor of London, over two years, to people who are homeless and want to get into education, training and employment.
The project aims to get 10 per cent of the clients into work and has already helped 20 per cent find a job.
Sarah-Joe Mohun-Smith, Assistant Regional Manager for Employment Services in London, said: “There is no typical journey for a participant. Support can include confidence building, enrolling on an iLearn course, assisting with CVs or making sure someone is in the system correctly to receive housing support. It may also involve engaging with substance misuse services.”
People can also receive help to set up a bank account, sort out ID or manage budgeting. This support can continue for as long as necessary, including after they find work.
Angela Hodges, an Employment Development Coordinator, said: “I am building rapport with those on the scheme and taking them on a journey of their choice. It is about them making their own decisions but having the motivation from us. I’ve worked in this field for a long time, but never with those at risk of being homeless. Homelessness always comes up with those seeking work and so many people are in need – it’s an amazing programme.”
Bamikola, 29, was sofa-surfing for many years, with no employment or income. He was introduced to Angela through the Job Centre, and she helped by finding him somewhere to live and a job. He said: “She found out what I was entitled to. I ended up with stuff I had no idea about; a free Oyster card so I could travel to interviews, clothes I could wear to them and food.”
Angela applied for a grant for the travel, clothes and food, which provided one month’s rent to support Bamikola during his job search.
Bamikola said: “Angela sent me suitable jobs, helped me put applications together, checked my CV and sent me to locations. She also helped me with interviews, so I knew to look smart, make eye contact and answer questions in a way that shows I am committed. I am more confident now.” These efforts paid off, as Bamikola now has a job in Hospitality.
Sarah-Joe said: “We are seeing people whose anxiety has decreased, they are having aspirations again and their wellbeing has improved. It has also helped people break the cycle of homelessness, as working can help them gain a permanent tenancy. Some, who were living on the streets when they joined the programme, have now moved into temporary accommodation. They are always progressing.”
We are seeing changes to housing options across London. For example, The borough of Southwark has 33 affordable modular homes for 18–24-year-olds, available for those working full-time or on an apprenticeship. Rent is set at a third of a tenant’s salary, making the homes truly affordable. By supporting young people in Southwark, the Employment scheme helps them to find jobs and access this accommodation.
Sarah-Joe added: “There is a lot of scope. The project is holistic, and we take the time to understand someone’s complex barriers rather than simply reaching targets. We help someone to progress and get to a place where they feel empowered to make positive choices.”
For more information on this scheme, please visit: