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Health care providers know that many homeless people — even those with serious health problems who have been unemployed for a long time – harbor a strong, deep-felt desire to re-enter the workforce. Providers can use the desire to work to help their patients.

Saffron Strand’s CEO, Yvonne Nair, teamed up with Brian Zralek, Consumer Advocate for the National Health Care for the Homeless Council (NHCHC), to present the February 20, 2013 webinar “Employment Support in the HCH Setting.”

Sponsored by the NHCHC, the webinar focused on approaches HCH (health care for the homeless) projects can take to support their consumers in looking forward to work, preparing to re-enter the workforce, and, ultimately, finding and sustaining good jobs that they enjoy and build into careers.

“Both the episodic and chronically homeless are HCH project consumers,” Brian pointed out. “Both can and do benefit from focusing on employment. And the HCH setting is an optimal one for using employment as a support or an ‘intervention’.”

“Encouragement and support from trusted health care providers can be a big help,” Yvonne added. “With the right support, the ‘hard-to-employ’ homeless can and do find and sustain gainful employment.”

The webinar has proved to be one of the Council’s most popular so far this year. In a follow-up online survey, 100% of respondents rated the webinar “very good” or “good.” They confirmed that the webinar achieved its major learning objectives, including to:

  • Recognize employment as a viable possibility for my homeless patients.
  • Describe ways to engage patients in conversation around seeking and maintaining employment.
  • Discuss innovative approaches membership organizations such as the National HCH Council are utilizing to support consumer employment.

Among many positive comments received: “This represents a break-through in thinking about the homeless population and is one of the most refreshing webinars I’ve attended in a field that has not seen these folks as being ‘capable’.”

For the 55-minute webinar podcast, click here.

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