Five Ways to Integrate Asset Building into Employment Services for Homeless Jobseekers

By Caitlin C. Schnur, Coordinator, National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity and David Applegate, Research and Policy Assistant, National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity


April is Financial Literacy Month, and we believe that every person deserves the opportunity to save and build wealth across their life-time—including people experiencing homeless. The most recent data show that 44% of households in the United States—and 80 percent of the poorest households—are liquid asset poor, meaning they have less than three months’ worth of savings. It’s safe to assume that people experiencing or at high risk of homelessness fall into this category and face significant challenges to building savings and wealth. In addition to connecting homeless jobseekers to employment, workforce development programs can foster their clients’ long-term economic success by integrating financial literacy and asset building into their services. Wondering how? Here are five strategies to help people experiencing homelessness meet their short term economic needs and build toward future goals.

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Four Transitional Jobs Programs that Are Helping Women Succeed in the Workforce

By Annika Yates, Communications Coordinator, Heartland Alliance Policy and Research Division owmen

Women face poverty at disproportionate rates. According to the National Women’s Law Center, nearly 60% of poor adults are women, and nearly six in ten poor children live in families headed by women. In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting four transitional jobs programs that are working to even the score by helping women leave poverty behind through employment.

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To Be Smart on Crime, We Need To Be Smart on Employment

By Caitlin C. Schnur, Coordinator, National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity

Photo via The Wall Street Journal

Photo via The Wall Street Journal

With the recently-launched Coalition for Public Safety and increasing congressional chatter about prison reform, making the nation’s criminal justice system smarter, fairer, and more cost effective is a rising priority—and it should be. The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Our country has only five percent of the world’s population but one quarter of its prisoners, and a disproportionate percentage of those prisoners are men of color. Many of these prisoners will return to their communities. In 2010, about 10 percent of nonincarcerated men—and 25 percent of nonincarcerated black men—had a felony conviction. At the same time, our prison system has a revolving door: more than half of returning citizens will be imprisoned again within five years.

Mass incarceration inflicts a high cost on taxpayers, communities, and families alike. We need strategies that will help prevent criminal justice system involvement and reduce reincarceration—and the research continues to demonstrate that access to employment and education can do just that. Here’s why and how efforts to reform the criminal justice system should leverage employment strategies to counter mass incarceration and reduce recidivism.

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At the State of the Union, It’s Time to Address Inequality

By Melissa Young, Director, National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity

Photo via Associated Press.

Photo via AP.

As President Barack Obama addresses the nation on January 20, 2015 during the State of the Union address, we urge him to declare a commitment to and articulate a vision for reducing inequality and ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to work and support themselves and their families.

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A Dream Deferred?

By James Jones, B.MORE Initiative Coordinator, National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity

Photo via The Seattle Times

Photo via The Seattle Times

“I’ve seen my dream shattered as I’ve walked the streets…and seen young men and women, with a sense of utter hopelessness because they can’t find any jobs.”—Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., July 4, 1964

On Monday, January 19th, the nation reflects on the courageous spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and all he has done to create racial equality in America. Doctor King’s advocacy for racial equality however, was inextricably linked to a call for economic justice—hence the full title of his famous “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.”  In the past few decades, we have made significant progress as a nation in the struggle for equality; however, if we are truly going to strive to achieve Dr. King’s dream, we must ensure that economic equality and opportunity are available for all people.

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