What happens when rapid re-housing and workforce development programs join forces? New jobs, better income, and greater housing stability for families experiencing homelessness.
These are just some of the findings from a three-year study of the Secure Jobs (SJ) Connecticut pilot initiative. SJ was designed to increase the income of homeless families by connecting them to the education, training, and supports they needed to secure and maintain stable employment. SJ sought to accomplish this by better integrating and coordinating the efforts of housing agencies and the public workforce system to effectively serve families participating in the Connecticut Rapid Re-Housing Program. Learn more about SJ here.
The Melville Trust, in partnership with 25 private funders and the Connecticut Department of Housing awarded grants to implement SJ in four regions across Connecticut, beginning in 2015.
Throughout the three-year pilot period, SJ increased coordination between housing and workforce agencies, built connections with agencies and local community resources, utilized flexible funding to overcome client barriers and provided crucial client navigation services.
SJ was not without challenges. While average monthly earnings for participating families increased significantly, these earnings were still short of what is needed for families to afford the high cost of housing and other essentials like childcare without subsidies.
Based on the experience and findings from the SJ pilot, the next iteration of the effort will be launching this fall. SJ 2.0 will focus on multi-level systems change so that families are solidly on the path to a livable wage. The sites will incorporate high-level leadership from the workforce system, bolster consumer voice, and will center on improvements of access, speed, responsiveness and effectiveness of service delivery within and across organizations. Watch this space!
On Monday, July 22, I will be presenting on Secure Jobs at the National Conference on Ending Homelessness at the 2 pm -3:15 pm session: 1.08 Helping Parents Connect to Employment and Income Support. Please come by if you are there!