Labor, Income & Employment

Due to various barriers that keep homeless people away from regular work, a considerable proportion of them resort to day labor or subsistence work, such as peddling and panhandling, to earn income. Lack of employment and insufficient income are cited as most important things preventing people from leaving homelessness.

But research consistently shows that people experiencing homelessness want to work. In fact, many are employed, but often precariously, or informally, without legal protections. The broader homeless population faces a variety of barriers to employment, including the experience of homelessness itself, plus other obstacles such as lack of experience, physical or mental health barriers, and challenges related to re-entry from incarceration or hospitalization.1

Low-income households are typically unemployed or underemployed due to a number of factors, such as a challenging labor market; limited education; a gap in work history; a criminal record; unreliable transportation or unstable housing; poor health or a disability.2 For those who are low-income but employed, wages have been stagnant and have not kept pace with expensive housing costs; additionally, workers may be sending large proportions of their wage to family in other locations, leaving them without enough to afford housing.

Learn more about labor, income & employment in:

South Africa, United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia