If there were not so many more pleasant topics to discuss, there could be an another category on this blog about stupid things that people say about homelessness. One of the most inane and also most common questions about homeless people who are perceived to also be unemployed is, “Why don’t they just get a job?”. This question is very often accompanied by a mention of a local employer who happens to be hiring new employees.
Have any of those who say such trivializing things ever tried what they suggest for others to do? Most of us at one time or another have gotten a job. There is nothing unusual about that. What makes the primary question unusual is that it is in regard to homeless and seemingly unemployed people. Has anyone who asks this question tried to get a job while homeless and unemployed? Would those who ask this question hire someone who is homeless and unemployed?
Fortunately, there are a few employers without our Community who can hire homeless people, even though it is difficult for homeless people to wash, groom and regularly wear clean clothes. Presentation is not so important for some sorts of jobs. Unfortunately, other Communities are not so accommodating. Employers are unlikely to hire those who are unable to make a good first impression, or maintain such an impression. For many jobs, presentation is very important.
Furthermore, employment is not necessarily an immediate remedy to homelessness. Many gainfully employed people can not afford rent or a mortgage here. Even if they can, it takes a long time to save for deposits or down payments. Even after saving enough for a deposit on a rental, homeless people are likely be ineligible to rent because of imperfect credit as a result of losing their previous homes.