Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs should expand opportunities for families living in poverty to increase their incomes through work. Many of the adults in families experiencing homelessness and other very poor families face barriers to employment, including low levels of education, limited skills and work experience, poor health, lack of transportation or childcare, criminal records, and other challenges.
What are subsidized jobs?
Subsidized employment or transitional jobs programs are designed to overcome employment barriers by combining paid work and job skills training, and they often include additional support services. These jobs, created in partnership with public or private sector employers, provide income for participants as well as the opportunity to learn workplace expectations and skills in a real work environment. Participants also get current job references and help finding unsubsidized jobs. Subsidized employment programs are particularly effective for workers who have been unemployed for a long time.
What are the promising practices?
Researchers and practitioners have identified promising program models and a set of best practices that work to increase employment and incomes for people who have significant barriers to employment, including people experiencing homelessness. Some of the most promising approaches:
Provide a pathway to greater economic security for families by offering training, coaching, and support services in addition to employment opportunities; and
Work with employers to create or expand job opportunities that are accessible to people who want to work but face barriers to getting and keeping jobs in the competitive labor market
These programs help workers move beyond entry-level jobs and pursue opportunities for career advancement and higher earnings
How can TANF help?
Funding from TANF programs, supplemented by support from philanthropy or other sources, may be used to subsidize a portion of the costs of wages, support services, and other programs costs.
For more information about best practices in creating employment opportunities for people experiencing homelessness, see these resources created by the Working to End Homelessness Initiative
For more information about using TANF to provide subsidized or transitional jobs, and the evidence that these programs work, see
|Tips for Funders: Understanding the Connections Between Family Homelessness and TANF Policies|