Employers: you can help the homelessness crisis

6 min read | Jamie Houlders | Article | General

Employers: you can help the homelessness crisis

We’re proud to announce we have signed Crisis’ Homelessness Covenant, pledging our commitment to help end homelessness through supportive employment practices.

If you hadn’t already noticed from your daily commute, or during a night out in town, the number of people who are homeless has soared. Homelessness numbers have shot up 14% in the past year alone. It’s now estimated that at least 309,000 people in England are homeless – a steep increase from 271,000 the year prior. The number of people sleeping rough on any given night has spiked by 26%, while those living in temporary accommodation is up by 14%.

To put this data into perspective, one in every 182 people in England are currently homeless. In London, this figure stands at an alarming one in 51. A staggering 24% of households facing homelessness last year were in employment; employers have the opportunity to alleviate this worsening crisis, but how? 


At a glance: how you can make a difference to homeless individuals

  • Follow in our footsteps by getting involved in Crisis’ Homelessness Covenant, giving you the tools to support any employees facing homelessness.
  • Adapt your hiring strategy to actively recruit homeless people or those who have faced homelessness
  • Almost half of homeless people are children and young people – help support disadvantaged young people into employment with Project Flourish.


Homelessness is now a real possibility for many

The rising cost-of-living and mounting rent prices mean homelessness is becoming a possibility for a growing proportion of the nation. In fact, one-third (34%) of people in the UK are now living paycheque to paycheque.

"One-third (34%) of people in the UK are now living paycheque to paycheque."


What’s more, four in 10 (40%) people find it difficult to afford their rent or mortgage payments each month, while 39% anticipate they won’t be able to save any money in the year ahead. An increasing number of households are scraping by; your colleagues and direct reports may be no exception, as almost one in four (24%) households facing homelessness last year were in work.


Support employees facing homelessness

More than four in 10 employers (42%) would try to terminate an employee’s contract if they became homeless, while over half believe sleeping rough is the only form of homelessness. Evidently, employers need to be better educated on the opportunities to properly support any employees facing homelessness.

Last year, Crisis launched the Homelessness Covenant with this mission in mind. By pledging to the Covenant, employers will be given the tools to build a greater understanding of what homelessness is and be able to better support employees who are facing this, ultimately helping to prevent homelessness. We’re proud to announce we’ve just signed the Covenant – follow in our footsteps and register your interest in signing up to this vital mission.


Adapt your hiring strategy for homeless applicants

As well as supporting current employees, you should also be actively hiring homeless people and those who have faced or are at risk of homelessness. Currently, not enough is being done by many employers; our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Report found that only just over half (52%) of employers believed their organisation was taking action to hire under-represented talent.

Further, our 2024 Salary and Recruiting Trends Guide discovered that a mere 14% were actively hiring people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds in a bid to address skills shortages – something that the overwhelming majority (92%) of employers have faced this past year.

If you’re feeling unsure about how best to attract homeless people to your vacancies, and what challenges you might face during the process, then signing up to The Homelessness Covenant will provide you with ample support to help meet this desperate need. Collaborating with charities such as Crisis can also increase the visibility and accessibility of your vacancies to homeless people.


Help break the cycle of poverty

Of the 309,000 homeless people in England, almost half (140,000) are children. All young people deserve equal career opportunities, no matter their background. By supporting young people at risk of homelessness into employment, you can help break the cycle of poverty and prove that social mobility is possible.

Last year, in collaboration with EveryYouth, we launched Project Flourish: a pro-bono employability programme to help disadvantaged young people secure and sustain meaningful employment, helping to reduce youth homelessness and poverty. To find out more about how our Flourish employability service can benefit your organisation and reduce youth homelessness, get in touch today.

No matter the size of your organisation, you have the power to make an impact, whether that be helping one person get their life back or driving widespread change. No one deserves to be without a home. We’re making a difference – you can too.

Discover more about how you can help tackle homelessness with Project Flourish

About this author

Jamie Houlders – Project Flourish Lead – Hays in collaboration with EveryYouth 

Jamie leads on our pro-bono employability programme to provide disadvantaged young people the skills and tools needed to secure and succeed in meaningful employment, as well as support the employer to create inclusive processes and positive environments, enabling the young people to ‘Flourish.’ Jamie is a director who has worked across many of our businesses UK wide over the past 20 years.

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