Employment & Income Issues

Meaningful and sustainable employment is the key to creating and maintaining housing stability.

Unemployment, underemployment, and low wages relative to rent are frequent causes of homelessness and burden millions of families with the risk of becoming homeless. At the same time, individuals experiencing homelessness face obstacles to finding and maintaining employment. As a result, connecting people experiencing or at-risk of homelessness with job training and placement programs is critical to ensure they have the tools they need for long-term stability and success. Facilitating access to work supports like childcare subsidies and transportation assistance can help increase the likelihood that individuals will be able to retain employment.


Many members of the homeless population have to combat barriers that can be almost insurmountable in such a competitive environment. Such employment barriers include:

  • Low educational attainment levels
  • Having young children with no access to child care
  • Limited or no past work experience or marketable job skills
  • Mental health or substance abuse problems
  • Chronic health problems or disability
  • Lack of access to transportation
  • Bad credit (which can make both finding a job and a house difficult)
  • Criminal histories


Ending homelessness will require closing the gap between incomes and housing costs. In such an equation, jobs that pay a living wage are critical. Government, labor, and the private sector must work in concert to ensure that all Americans who can work have an opportunity to obtain a job, which pays a living wage, and the necessary supports, such as child care and transportation in order to keep it. 

Content courtesy NationalHomeless.org