Approximately 700,000 people in the United States are homeless. The vast majority of this population has the ability to pull themselves out of it; they just need a little help. Teaching the homeless professional and life skills in order to help them gain sustainable employment is the key to helping end this epidemic.
A variety of skill sets ranging from resume writing and interview preparation, to personal financial management, time management, and work etiquette are needed. The homeless also need help finding housing, budgeting, obtaining personal documents, and obtaining credit. Communication skills and conflict resolution techniques are also important.
Most of us take these basic skills for granted, but many of the homeless have never acquired them. These skills are instrumental in helping the homeless become self-sufficient and reengage in society.
Consider the following success stories:
The Jones Family had been homeless for almost a year. Mr. Jones had lost his job, and Mrs. Jones was disabled and unable to work. They were unable to find rental housing because they still owed previous landlords and had unpaid utility bills. With the help of banking and budgeting classes at a homeless organization, the Jones Family was able to pay off all of their debts within just a few months. They now have their own apartment, and Mr. Jones has a full-time job.
The Smith Family all suffered from learning and mental disabilities and were homeless because they had never learned the basic life skills they needed to survive. With the help of one homeless program, this family acquired skills they had never learned in areas of personal finance, filling out essential forms, how to obtain housing, and even basic computer skills. With the addition of these skills, this family is now living and thriving on their own.
Shauna was a single mom of two teenagers who just couldn’t make ends meet. Through a local homeless program, Shauna worked with a team leader to address the issues of her homelessness. She took career development courses and learned about creating a resume and how to have a successful job interview. Two years later, Shauna’s family is flourishing. They have their own place and Shauna and her teens all have jobs.
Johnny had just gotten out of jail and had nowhere to go. He had battled with lifelong addiction problems and turned to a life of crime to support his habit. He had no family or friends to turn to and soon became homeless again. Through a local homeless program, Johnny received substance abuse help and job skills training. He now has a job as a maintenance worker.
In order to get the homeless off the street, the causes of homelessness must be addressed. Connecting the homeless with transitional life skills training is essential in arming them with the tools needed for long-term success.