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National Homelessness Clearinghouse: Male-Specific Barriers For Homeless Men To Find Employment

A report that examines personal and social barriers faced by homeless people attempting to get back into work.

FaHCSIA

 

 
The problem is once you’re out of the system and out of the cycle it’s very hard to get back into it again...
 

This resource examined structural and personal barriers faced by homeless people towards gaining and maintaining employment. It takes a non-gendered approach throughout the report but from this, there are several implications for policymakers and service providers about male-specific issues.

Homeless Men and Employment

Often the reasons that men may become homeless are gender-specific and can have implications for trying to get back into work. Other research indicates that men generally become homeless through relationship breakdown (as opposed to women who are more often subjected to domestic violence).

Maintaining connections to children as a determinant of health and wellbeing is important to men's health but this factor can also restrict the ability of men to relocate to find work.

Male-Specific Barriers To Employment In Homeless Men

Barriers that are specifically relevant to men include:

  • overcoming stigma and resistance caused by the unexplained gap in work history - for men much more than women, the maintenance of connections to employment on a continual basis is an essential factor in finding work. A man who becomes homeless then has to battle with the issue of not having a stable fixed address but also has to cope with addressing the employment gap.

A revealing case study acknowledges this:

"The problem is once you’re out of the system and out of the cycle it’s very hard to get back into it again. When you’re in there it’s very easy to maneuver around but when you’re out of it people start to ask questions… ‘why haven’t you been working for this time?’ – even though I had a concrete, stable, 22 year working history it doesn't’t really count for much, only that year or year and a bit where you’re not stable people – they get a bit worried about things, you know? Mark, Welfare Homelessness Service, 35-44 yrs".

  • navigating the disconnected nature of services can pose a challenge for both genders, and few services adequately integrate the need to combine safe housing with access to employment and manage other issues such as drug or alcohol problems. Particularly for men, finding services that can provide connections across diverse contexts is important in helping men to transition out of homelessness.

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