October 2011 Update on Employment Initiatives in the Federal Government for Individuals Experiencing Homelessness
While more work is needed to increase economic security for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, there have been advances made at the federal level, including but not limited to
- Building on guidance the Department of Labor (DOL) issued on Veterans priority of service implementation in the public workforce system, DOL’s solicitations for competitive grants also include language to ensure grantee compliance in the implementation of priority for Veterans and their spouses in training programs funded by DOL. This will help ensure all Veterans, including those at risk of becoming homeless have the priority access needed to training opportunities, preventing their homelessness and increasing their economic stability.
- DOL led the Job Corps demonstration project for young Veterans, which was located in Edinburgh, Indiana; Morganfield, Kentucky; and Excelsior Springs, Missouri. The focus of the project was to address the needs of young Veterans who were transitioning from service. The site locations were selected based on the variety of career training offerings available at each center and available bed space. As of June 17, the date the demonstration project ended, 40 young Veterans had enrolled. And, as a result of increased awareness and recruitment across the nationwide Job Corps network, including relationships with the Transition Assistance Program, a total of 341 young Veterans have enrolled in Job Corps programs over the last year; a 67 percent increase over the prior year.
- As part of the Disability and Employment Initiative (DEI), the Department of Labor has awarded nine grants to States to support extensive partnerships, collaboration, and coordination across multiple service delivery systems to leverage public and private resources to better serve persons with disabilities and improve their employment outcomes. Seven of these projects include some focus on expanding the capacity of the public workforce system to serve persons who are homeless. Through these projects, States partner with Local Veterans’ Employment Representatives (LVERs) and Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Program (DVOP) specialists in One-Stop Career Centers to assist homeless disabled Veterans in accessing the system’s employment and training services, as well as linking them to other benefits. A second round of DEI grants will be awarded in program year 2011.
- Thirty-nine states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands used $1.3 billion of the Emergency Contingency Funds authorized under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for TANF to support a wide range of subsidized employment programs, including transitional jobs, summer jobs for youth, and supported work programs for individuals with disabilities or other barriers to employment. One survey suggests that states placed nearly 250,000 people in subsidized jobs, including about 120,000 low income youth, during the summer of 2010.