Back-to-work scheme ‘failing homeless’

 

Homeless people are being failed by the government’s flagship back-to-work programme despite large amounts of public money being given to private firms to cut chronic employment, a new report warns.

One in five homeless people have had benefits cut or stopped in the first year of the Work Programme amid serious concerns about a dramatic rise of punitive sanctions against the most vulnerable, according to three charities.

Fewer than 10 per cent of homeless people are in paid employment, and they face a range of significant obstacles such as addictions, mental health problems, illiteracy, criminal records, stigma, no fixed address and lack of access to a computer.

Yet Crisis, Homeless Link and St Mungo’s found three fifths of homeless people surveyed had not even been asked about the barriers they currently faced, and two thirds did not feel any more optimistic about finding a job after seeing their work programme advisor.

The Programme’s Not Working report calls for urgent reform of the Work Programme amid claims that the private companies are being paid for work that many homeless charities continue to do for free.

Rick Henderson, Homeless Link Chief Executive, says: “Charities should not be subsidising the Work Programme. There must be a different approach for those who want to work but face the most severe barriers to finding and staying in employment. Things need to change.”

The Department of Work and Pensions introduced the new-fangled Work Programme to address long-term unemployment in June 2011 in order to address the shortcoming of previous welfare to work schemes.

In essence, private companies are paid to get people back to work, using any system they find effective, with more money paid for the most vulnerable and ‘difficult to employ’ individuals.

Homelessness is identified as a significant disadvantage to employment.

The financial crises has led to a substantial rise in homeless numbers with outreach teams in London counting 5,678 rough sleepers in the year to March 2012 – a 43 per cent increase in 12months.

Yet the report says that Jobcentre plus staff regularly fail to identify people as homeless which mean they do not get the additional support they need.

Smaller, specialist organisations should be sub-contracted to work with the most vulnerable people, yet St Mungo’s for example, left the work programme after not receiving a single referral in the first nine months.

In addition, 58 per cent of people reported that they were not treated with dignity or respect by their work advisor, compounding deep seated feelings of poor self-worth. And only 22 per cent of people with drug or alcohol problems said they received any useful support or advice about their addiction from the work programme provider. 

The report recognises that there are examples of very good, supportive advisors but insists that few homeless people have so far benefited from the new scheme.

Leslie Morphy, Crisis Chief Executive, said: “We know that work is an effective route out of homelessness and that homeless people want to work. Our biggest concern is that the Work Programme is not reaching people who are furthest from the job market. We urge the Government to find ways to make sure thousands of people devastated by homelessness are not written off for good.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Data Specialist

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test