Skills for a successful life beyond the streets
In the United Kingdom it is estimated there are more than 400,000 homeless individuals. For the few who do manage to leave the streets, social isolation, struggles with work etiquette and a lack of personal finance skills result in many returning to homelessness.
To tackle these issues, the University of Sheffield Enactus team started with 12 homeless individuals to address some of the biggest factors contributing to ongoing homelessness. The first phase of their efforts uses weekly activities like gardening to build confidence and social skills. The second phase concentrates on more advanced skills such as budgeting and finance, which is further enhanced and applied through a strawberry jam business. This fully functional business serves as a learning lab to teach financial literacy and work readiness. In fact, the training enabled these first participants to make nearly $2,000 in three months to aid them as they start their new lives. Because the jam business is only the starting point to help these individuals become self-sufficient, additional stages of the project focus on interview training so participants can leverage their new experiences when applying for a job.
Since the “Home Made” project began, eight of the 12 individuals have completed all four stages of the project and have secured jobs. Also, attendance to housing and job interviews has increased 90 percent. All of the project participants are now better equipped with skills to help them avoid returning to homelessness and life on the streets.