Since so many homeless have had the experience of being called lazy bums, deserving of their homelessness, and we know of so many homeless who have worked for years, who are educated and who once made good salaries, and we know about ageism and sexism in employment, we thought we'd do a poll/opinion roundup. WHAT EMPLOYMENT SERVICES at SHELTERS and OTHER NONPROFITS really need to help the homeless get work.
Marg. In her 50's. Homeless for about four years. Currently in section 8 and on disability.
"The shelter I stayed at didn't know how to cope with homeless with college degrees or people who used to have management positions. They just worked with the stereotypes and the work they expected people to take was ridiculous. They, especially the men in charge but also one particular female higher up, always talked to me like I was a dumb ass. I stopped talking to all of them. I consider them all to be human garbage."
Larry. In his 30's. Homeless for about a year. Living in car. Sometimes rents motel rooms. Has not applied to get into any shelters.
"I came to California after my mom died. I signed up for community college but I couldn't find a job that was that flexible. Right now I'm delivering pizza part time. I want to get back into either LAVC or LACity. Not having an address is a big problem for me. I'll get my lucky break soon. I know this may sound weird but I think it would be great to be a teacher."
Jenn. In her 20's. Was a foster child in her teens. Lived in abandoned building with other kids.
"I did movie extra work for a while. I finished high school. I stayed at an emergency shelter, I won't say where. I stayed on people's floors and got raped in Vegas. I went into a bad depression.
They (the shelter she stayed at) didn't have any employment services. They'd just say that if you were going on interviews then you must really be trying. Trying for what? It's different for the guys who can do construction, who don't have to look good for interviews.
I got married and I have a child but my mother in law has tried to take my child from me because I've had depression and been raped."
Trudy. 60ish. Did care giving and nursing type work. Lived in van. Lived in shelter in San Fernando Valley. Got kicked out.
"When I was at that shelter, they didn't even have clothes for work, they didn't really have help for finding work. They didn't like it that I didn't want to go mental. I didn't want to do it because I knew then I could never get back into nursing. I'm not working at anything. I'd say they need to find people willing to hire their residents."
Bruce 40's ex convict. Lived in shelter several years.
"I decided to go disabled and not deal with work. I saw too much in prison. I know at the shelter there was an employment office. People got help writing resumes. Don't know of anyone who got work through her."
ALL NAMES HAVE BEEN CHANGED; THANK YOU TO THOSE WILLING TO GIVE TESTIMONY!
1) Clothing that is appropriate for interviews and at least one weeks worth of appropriate clothing for the job, whatever that is - business suits included.
2) Laundry, ironing boards, irons, so that homeless can take care of their work wardrobe.
3) Free or inexpensive hair cuts. Make up advise, etc. A number of homeless or shelter people have mentioned that they would like to dye their graying hair or that they haven't been able to keep up with hair cuts, styling, or would just like to have their hair dyed back to it's original color as important to getting and keeping jobs.
4) Tattoo removal. Referrals anyone?
5) Expert resume help. In particular a resume that can cover years on the street or years in mental hospital.
6) Interview practice. In particular how to answer questions truthfully but without getting into the whole homeless thing.
7) The employment people should reach out to find employers willing to hire the homeless so that those who interview at such places don't have to scramble to explain that they're living at a shelter.
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- HOW TO USE THIS BLOG TO FIND SERVICES
- QUESTIONS FOR HOMELESS
- ASK THE SHELTER / NONPROFIT AT INTAKE
- BE A GOOD ROOM MATE AT THE SHELTER
- WHAT MAKES A GOOD CASE MANAGER?
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