How hard is it for a homeless person to get a job?

Homelessness and Job Seeking

Homelessness is an issue that affects many people across the world. It can be difficult to find a job when living on the streets, and many homeless people struggle to get back on their feet. In this article, we’ll explore the challenges homeless people face when looking for a job, and how they can overcome these obstacles.

What is Homelessness?

Homelessness is defined as being without a fixed, regular, and adequate night-time residence. It’s a complex social issue that has many causes, including poverty, mental and physical health issues, lack of affordable housing, and family conflict.

How Many People are Homeless?

According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), there were 553,742 people experiencing homelessness on any given night in the United States in 2019. Of these, 194,467 people were unsheltered, meaning they were living on the streets, in parks, abandoned buildings, or other places not meant for human habitation.

Challenges of Job Seeking for the Homeless

For those living on the streets, job seeking can be difficult and challenging. Some of the main obstacles faced by homeless people include:

1. Lack of a Fixed Address

One of the most difficult parts of job seeking for the homeless is the lack of a fixed address. Most employers require a mailing address where they can send job offers and contact applicants. Without a fixed address, homeless people can’t provide this information.

2. Lack of Access to Technology

Many employers now advertise jobs online, but this can be difficult for homeless people to access. Without access to a computer, the internet, or even a working phone, it can be hard to apply for jobs.

3. Lack of Transportation

Getting to and from job interviews or work can be difficult for those without a car or access to public transportation. Without reliable transportation, homeless people can struggle to make it to job interviews or work on time.

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4. Lack of Professional Clothing

Job interviews often require professional clothing, but many homeless people don’t have the means to buy this. Without the right clothing, homeless people can feel intimidated and out of place in job interviews.

How Can Homeless People Overcome These Challenges?

1. Use Services that Provide a Mailing Address

There are services available that provide a mailing address for homeless people. This can be used to provide an address for job applications and to receive mail from potential employers.

2. Take Advantage of Free Internet Services

Many public libraries, homeless shelters, and community centers offer free internet access. This can be used to search and apply for jobs online.

3. Ask for Help with Transportation

Many organizations, such as churches and community groups, provide transportation to job-seeking homeless people. It’s worth asking around to see if any of these services are available in your area.

4. Look for Free Professional Clothing

Many organizations provide free professional clothing to homeless people who need it for job interviews. Non-profits, churches, and other community organizations can be great resources in this area.

How Else Can Homeless People Find Jobs?

1. Networking

Networking is an important part of job seeking for anyone, and homeless people can take advantage of this as well. Reach out to friends, family, and former colleagues for job leads and advice.

2. Apply for Government Programs

The US government offers programs that provide assistance to homeless people looking for work. These programs can help with job training and placement, transportation, and other assistance.

3. Take Advantage of Job Fairs

Many cities hold job fairs specifically for homeless people. These job fairs provide an opportunity to meet potential employers, learn about job openings, and network with other job seekers.

4. Volunteer

Volunteering is a great way to gain experience and build up your resume. Look for volunteer opportunities in your area that can help you gain the skills and experience you need to find a job.


Finding a job when you’re homeless can be difficult and challenging. However, there are many resources available to help homeless people overcome the obstacles they may face. Through networking, taking advantage of free services, and applying for government programs, homeless people can find the help they need to find a job.

Homelessness is a complex social issue that affects many people, but with the right help and resources, those experiencing homelessness can find a job and get back on their feet.