Connecting Homeless Jobseekers to Work: Essential System Elements and Approaches

National Transitional Jobs Network Conference Baltimore, Maryland April 12-13, 2012

Presented by: Marcelle Wellington, Workforce Development Council Seattle-King County Patrick Burkhart, Maricopa County Human Services Department David Raymond, Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust

The best defense against homelessness is a job that pays enough to afford a place to live
Barriers:
 Homeless Jobseekers - Criminal history, employment gaps, bad

debt, physical illness, mental illness, substance abuse, working while homeless, increasing set-asides for veterans

 Workforce system - Numerous and stringent performance measures,

low knowledge base of how to serve this special population  Both systems: Cross-system cultural differences, lack of partnerships, limited/reduced funding

Best practices, Inspire and educate, Open One-stop system to more
homeless jobseekers, Serve them more effectively.

Learning Objectives
 What worked and what didn’t work in five cities:
 Portland, OR  Houston, TX  Seattle, WA  Miami, FL  Phoenix, AZ

 Common and Essential System Elements and

Approaches

“Staying in Your Own Lane”
Worksystems and Portland Housing Bureau (Oregon)

Successes

    


 

Wrap around services with On-the-Job-Training, employment “Prosperity Planner” Invested in two organizations that focus on homeless youth services Fund and support technology for regional homeless youth/family provider Maintain relationships with multiple homeless service organizations  System alignment/collaboration  Integrated planning efforts  Merge housing with redevelopment  Ensure the right questions are asked at intake (E.G., “have you ever been in foster care?) Pursue and partner for targeted grants/set-asides -- E.G., Ending Chronic Homelessness, Homeless Vets, navigator and liaison services Mapped area agency’s spending on homelessness; found $150 million in resources ($15 million from workforce system) Redefined WIA eligibility, enhancing access for homeless individuals  Deemphasized WIA performance - Eliminated performance standards since it takes people who are homeless longer to achieve standards, and employers won’t or can’t compromise  Emphasized employment as key strategy in 10 year plan Member of local Coordinating Committee to End Homelessness

Challenges
 Declining WIA resources, rise in demand  6,000 served in 2008  65,000 served in 2010  A lot of recipients have exhausted benefits  65% tested below a 9th grade level

 A lot of homeless youth (16-21 years)

Essential System Elements and Approaches
 Regional shared vision and goals
 Emphasize employment as key strategy in 10-year plan  Multiple cross-system partnerships

 System alignment: “Stay in your own lane”, support don’t

duplicate

 Flexible funding - public and private sources  Innovative services  Policy support - Redefine WIA criteria, deemphasize performance (focus on outcomes)

“Whatever it Takes”
Houston-Galveston Area Workforce Council and SEARCH Homeless Services

Integration of knowledge and resources

Successes
 Combined deep knowledge and the resources of both
  

the Workforce Council and SEARCH Increased customer success Increased access to employment services, and leveraged training Increased flexibility to meet customers’ abilities and needs 44 % Employed at 90-day follow-up

Challenges
 Overcoming cultural differences between systems
 Understanding homeless customers unique needs in

Workforce system  More higher-need customers required more intensive services; produced lower Return on Investment  Many homeless customers exhausted benefits (e.g., TANF)  Employers willing to work with homeless customers and ex-offenders

Essential System Elements and Approaches
 Planned time to build and enable collaborations,



operating environment Improve cross-functional knowledge, communication and collaboration between partner systems Innovative services, increased access Flexible funding - public and private sources Employer relationships, awareness, supports

“Practical Advocacy”
Workforce Development Council Seattle-King County Committee to End Homelessness Building Changes
Seattle’s 10-Year Plan to End H0melessness Homeless Intervention Project Homeless Employment Navigator

Successes

Seattle’s 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness
 3 years to draft
 Early focus only on housing and treatment  Employment added in 2007

Homeless Intervention Project (HIP) 1988 to present
 Housing assistance  Intensive case management

 Job Training, Placement, Retention
 56% Employed at Exit & Upgraded Housing  50% Increased Income from Employment

Homeless Employment Navigator
 Embedded into the 10 Year Plan  Public/Private partnership  Improved cross-functional knowledge, communication

and collaboration between systems  Culture of sustainability  Better utilization of existing resources  Workforce system training (300+)  Enhanced access/delivery to WIA services  Support to engage early/often in employment services  58% enrolled in job training or search program

Challenges

 State of the economy, profile of current jobseekers,

returning veterans, lack of affordable/available housing  Enrolling clients in Workforce Investment Act (WIA) programs:
 Barriers/immediate needs had to be addressed first  Upon entry to housing, participants were not yet ready or

committed to pursue training  DSHS cutbacks impacted childcare and food benefits  Exhaustion of 60-month TANF limit before training was completed

 System Restrictions:
 Workforce: Adherence to outcome measurements

 Homeless: Implementation of employment component
 Data: No common data source or definitions  Need longer-terms to evaluate client success

Essential System Elements and Approaches
 Regional shared vision and goals  Emphasize employment as key strategy in 10-year plan

 Multiple cross-system partnerships
 Improve cross-functional knowledge, communication,

collaboration with partner systems  Flexible funding - public and private sources  Innovative services

Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust and South Florida Workforce

Successes

 8,000 homeless people served each day (system-wide)  63% Move to higher level of care  24/7 “Homeless Helpline”  Employment counselors at Homeless Assistance Centers  Mobile Workforce Units (fully equipped with technology)  

travel to Homeless Assistance Centers DMV visits One-stops monthly Participants ‘earn’ additional services/benefits the longer they stay in the system. (E.G., 30 days earns a wage increase of $1 per hour) Government-owned surplus property converted to Permanent Supportive Housing with: 22 acre organic farm, Farmer’s Market, On-the-Job-Training Law passed to prevent day-labor abuses

Challenges
 Funding: Performance measures are a barrier  Integrated Intake: Needed a customized system to

determine if applicant is homeless  Time to reassess program effectiveness
 

New directions New partnerships

Essential System Elements and Approaches
 Innovative services, increased access  Regional shared vision and goals  Planned time to build and enable collaborations,

operating environment  Policy support  Common data source

“Strategic Opportunism”
Maricopa County Human Services Dept. and Central Arizona Shelter Services, Inc.

Convergence

Successes
 Distributed services model for WIA programs -“Access

Point Network”  Enhanced NPO workforce services  Regional vision and non-parochial operating environment leveraged capabilities of all member organizations (Maricopa Human Capital Collaborative)  Human Services Campus delivers continuum of care to homeless individuals and families

Challenges

 Building a cohesive regional workforce culture
 Staying focused on achieving the greatest good - Willingly paid a

price on performance without relaxing measures  Building trust to enable collaborations  Took 18 months to achieve  Support, don’t duplicate

 Employer Market Penetration
 LinkedIn  Apprenticeship programs

 Integrating the WIA as a supportive player:
 Recognizing the limits of local WIA expertise  Add value/enhance effectiveness of existing NPO providers

 Geography and transportation - can’t reach everyone
 Be where we could not be - extend/leverage core services, expand

presence  Access to other networks (E.G., National Guard)  MOUs with homeless providers and Homeless Connection sites

Essential System Elements and Approaches
 Regional shared vision and goals  Plan 12 to 18 months to build trust and enable


 

collaborations, operating environment Multiple cross-system partnerships Innovative services Employer relationships, awareness, supports Policy support - Redefine Workforce Investment Act criteria, deemphasize performance (focus on outcomes)

More Information
 Portland Prosperity Planner
 Houston-Galveston Area Council , SEARCH Homeless

Services  Seattle-King County Navigator Report, HIP  Miami-Dade Homeless Assistance Centers, Mobile Workforce Units  Maricopa County Human Services Campus

QUESTIONS……

Join Our Community of Practice
Please share your Best Practices and Essential

System Elements and Approaches.
Are you inspired ? Do you feel more educated about how to open your One-stop system to more homeless jobseekers and to serve them more effectively? Tell us what you’re doing.

mwellington@seakingwdc.org

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