The Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) welcomes the report published today by the Communities and Local Government (CLG) Select Committee on homelessness as a first step to addressing barriers to homeless people moving into employment.

In particular, ERSA supports the Committee view that it is of “fundamental importance that any homeless person that wants to seek employment should not be deterred in any way”. As ERSA’s members know from the frontline (only 8% of St Mungo’s clients are in work whilst just 2% of Crisis’ clients are in full time work), government must do more to support homeless jobseekers into work. This is particularly pressing in light of recent research by Crisis which found an overwhelming motivation to work amongst this group.

First and foremost, jobseekers who are homeless or at risk of homelessness must be identified and quickly referred to appropriate specialist employment support. If homeless people are not offered support that meets their needs, their issues can become further entrenched, which incurs not only a personal cost to those individuals, but ultimately a financial cost to the government purse.

Sam Windett, Head of Policy and Communications, ERSA, said:

“It is extremely positive that this report recognises one of the key disincentives to employment faced by jobseekers in temporary accommodation. However, this is one element in a host of barriers that keep homeless people out of work and reliant on financial support.

“We are working with the Department for Work and Pensions to help ensure that homelessness, or risk of homelessness, is recognised in individuals at an early stage, so that those who require it are quickly referred to the right support which can help them move into work and towards an independent life.”