September 6, 2022 - Why Don't Homeless People... Get a Job?

September 6th, 2022

Since the United Way Board of Directors agreed to make homelessness, it's causes, prevention and solutions our Strategic Initiative, I've read every article on the topic that I find. The following article by Kyle Cassaday does a great job of explaining the answer to a common question - 


Why Don’t’ Homeless People Just get a job?

By Kyle J. Cassaday


Six Common Reasons


Why homeless people just don’t get a job is beyond the understanding of most working-class citizens. This article explains why they don’t. 

“What’s the first thing you would do if you became homeless?’ asked reporter Jeff Jacobs to Stacy Bennum, a recent college grad from UCLA. After puzzling the question for a moment, Stacy replied, “I think I would get a job.” That way I could get out of my situation as soon as possible.”

That’s what most people think they’d do. But they don’t know what it’s like to be homeless. I do. I was homeless myself. Most of the world doesn’t understand who, the situation of homelessness makes a person become. To answer why homeless people don’t get jobs, we need to know what homelessness is like and who homeless people are. Let us first start with the latter.


The homeless are people who feel forgotten and uncared for, left by family and society to freeze in the cold. Sure, if they would just go out and get a job, they could end their suffering in a month. But why they don’t may make sense once you understand their situation. While many reasons exist for why the homeless don’t work, and specific reasons for why any given homeless person does not, varies.  In general, homeless people do not get jobs because they:


  1. Experience learned helplessness
  2. Don’t want a job
  3. Have disabilities that prevent them from working
  4. Lack a safe place to leave possessions
  5. Have difficulties getting hired
  6. Have trouble keeping a job


I know that sounds like a bunch of excuses but give me a chance to explain.  




Find more information here:

Volunteer Needs

 5 Volunteers to work Sept. 27th Fare For All - 2:45 to 5 pm.

Call the United Way Office to Volunteer. 651-388-6309



Yes, there are homeless people living in our communities. there are people who are chronically homeless living in our communities. Chronic homelessness is used to describe people who have experienced homelessness for at least a year — or repeatedly — while struggling with a disabling condition such as a serious mental illness, substance use disorder, or physical disability. Homeless is not who a person is, it is a situation they are experiencing. Ignoring them won't make them disappear, only a safe affordable place to live will do that.


“Sometimes it's easy to walk by because we know we can't change someone's whole life in a single afternoon. But what we fail to realize it that simple kindness can go a long way toward encouraging someone who is stuck in a desolate place.”

 Mike Yankoski


“I was medically unfit for any job, the medications were making me sicker, and I had been denied disability payments! I was falling into the biggest hole of my life. Unfortunately, reaching this point results in bankruptcy and homelessness for many."

 Steven Magee, Magee’s Disease


Thanks for reading!



Maureen Nelson