This year over 2 million youth will experience homelessness[i], and one of the major reasons why will be financial instability. Employment and education have long been identified as a strategy for creating stability amongst youth experiencing homelessness, and this method has proven to be successful.
Covenant House Greater Washington (CHGW) provides young people ages 18-24 with housing and the supportive wrap-around services they need in achieving stability. Each year, CHGW serves nearly 1000 young people many of those young people are searching for opportunities to make a living in one of the most expensive metropolitan areas in the country. “We know that in order for our young people to survive in this region we must equip them with education, experience, and certifications that lead to employment opportunities with liveable wages.” said Dr. Madye Henson, CEO, Covenant House Greater Washington. CHGW launched The Hospitality Institute last year which has proven successful. The Institute equips young people with industry-recognized Guest Service Gold and ServSafe Food Handler Manager Certifications. 95% of all hospitality youth maintained their employment over 90 days. In addition to preparing youth for opportunities, CHGW has supported over 30 youth to attend college this year.
A study from the 1980s, known as the “Street Youth Employment Program” was able to show the effectiveness of job employment in decreasing youth homelessness. The study recruited homeless youth and provided them with a place to live and employment, as well as job training and schooling. The study found that the intervention led to 70% of the youth in the program finding stability through work or school, and researchers identified youth employment as one of the leading reasons for the success[iii].