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The Challenges Faced By The Working Homeless And How Employers Can Help

Employment is often hailed as the solution to homelessness. While a job is necessary to pull yourself out of poverty, it’s simply not enough for a lot of people in cities with astronomical rents. Working while homeless is a gruesome reality for many people across the globe. While most of these employees skillfully hide this fact, there are steps that employers can take to make life easier for them.

Why Some People Might Have A Job But No Home

The working homeless or the working poor are a lot more common than you would think. Here are a few of the most common struggles that contribute to why someone might be employed but still have no place to safely call their own after work.

High Costs Of Rent

The working homeless typically lose their home due to reasons such as eviction or a breakup, then struggle to find an apartment within their budget due to their low income. “Being priced out of the rent market is common in a lot of cities with insane real estate prices,” explains Gary Haines, a business blogger at Subjecto and Dissertation Help. “Even if they could find a place they can afford, most landlords will choose tenants with higher levels of income.”

Lack Of Housing

In some cases, someone might be homeless because they simply can’t afford any places for rent near their place of employment. Instead of spending most of their money on gas by commuting to work for hours from a place they can barely afford, it becomes more convenient to live in your car. As real estate values continue to increase in places such as California, the number of working homeless will only continue to rise.

Lack Of Safe Alternatives To Housing

While there are homeless shelters in most cities, many refuse to risk their safety or fear having their belongings stolen by others in the shelter. For some, the shelter might be too far from their work, while others might simply feel safer sleeping in their cars.

No Government Support

Many people mistakenly view homelessness as a character flaw, but a more accurate perspective would be to view homelessness as a government flaw. If someone is struggling to make rent, policies such as income subsidy or rent-geared-to-income could prevent them from becoming homeless. In the absence of an adequate supply of affordable housing and good social policy, it’s significantly more likely for people to become homeless while working.

No Social Support

People who move to a brand new city to start a new life, but are met with the harsh realities of a low income and skyrocketing rent don’t have the same social support as someone who grew up in that city. “Some have no friends or family to stay with when they can’t afford rent,” according to Carolyn Campbell, a technical writer at My Writing Way and Best Essay Writing Service. “While some people get lucky and find friends who let them ‘couch surf,’ this is by no means a permanent and secure solution to their housing need.”

How Employers Can Help

Since homeless employees are skilled at hiding their housing troubles, it can be difficult for employers to tell when one of their workers is struggling to find a place to live. Regardless, employers can help by ensuring their employees know they won’t be judged or discriminated against for their lack of housing situation.

Many employees who are homeless fear losing their jobs in the event that their employers find out about their homelessness. There is often a stigma around the homeless that causes employers to perceive them as less trustworthy or capable as their coworkers. While this is far from the truth, there’s nothing stopping an employer from firing an employee once they find out about their struggles.

In order to better support employees, it’s important for employers to inform their workers that their job security will not be threatened for seeking support. Employers should also strive to provide the right connections and access to resources to help their employees find a home.


There’s no question that employment and income are necessary to escape poverty. However, if you live somewhere that lacks affordable housing, government support, and social support, it can be especially challenging to save yourself from homelessness. An understanding employer who is willing to help connect their employees to the right resources would be a huge help.

Madeline Miller writes about various social and humanitarian issues.

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