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Policy, campaigning and research

Our work is based in over a decade of on-the-ground experience delivering programmes to help support those affected by homelessness or other challenging circumstances to build successful working lives.

Over 3,000 people have been supported into work so far, and our aim is for 4,000 to be supported into employment by 2016.

Our policy and campaigning

Through our policy, research and campaigning work, we challenge business and Government on the cultural and structural barriers that prevent people from disadvantaged groups from gaining and sustaining employment. Our campaign activity focuses on three specific issue groups, aiming to create the best environment for individuals from these groups to build successful working lives.

  • Business Action on Homelessness (BAOH) – established in 1998 by a core group of business leaders , our BAOH campaign has conducted research, made recommendations to Government and developed tools to help support people who have experienced homelessness or are at risk of homelessness into employment.

  • Reducing Re-offending through Employment – through campaigns such as Ban the Box , we provide support and knowledge to both employers and ex-offenders to support the positive disclosure of criminal convictions and to break down the barriers preventing ex-offenders from entering employment and building successful working lives.

  • Care Leavers – we raise awareness of the challenges facing young people in the transition from care to independent living.  Through Seeing is Believing visits we've brought this issue to the forefront for a group of business leaders, and we also spoke about the role and importance of employer involvement at the National Care Leavers Conference.

Through all our campaigns, our aim is to ensure:

  • that the benefits and welfare to work systems help rather than hinder people on their journey to employment,

  • that employers are supported and informed to break down barriers to work,

  • that companies and Government provide the support needed to help people sustain work, once they are in employment.

Business in the Community is also a member of the End Youth Homelessness Alliance, a unique collaboration between business, charities and health professionals to raise awareness of the complex challenge and cost of youth homelessness. Find out more.

Our research

We partnered with London-based homeless charity, Broadway Homelessness and Support, on their Keeping Work research . The report, based on following the progress of 50 homeless people over their first six to twelve months of work, found that they did not require much targeted support from employers.

Rather, good all-round employment practice, such as well-planned inductions, regular supervisions and clear guidance about their role were most effective in helping homeless people thrive in work.

Our Making Work, Work research report, commissioned from the New Economics Foundation, showed that homeless people are not always better off in employment. The report set out recommendations for Government, business and the voluntary sector to tackle this issue.

In 2010 we undertook research into Helping homeless people to thrive in work: The role of emotional resilience, which showed poor emotional resilience as a barrier to job sustainment for homeless people. This led to the development of a set of resources for employers, job coaches and key workers, to promote the emotional resilience of homeless people in the workplace. Leading business psychologists Pearn Kandola gave pro-bono support and advice on the resources.

The benefits of supporting those facing barriers to work has also been soundly established by our research, into the Social Return on Investment into our flagship programme Ready to Work, and on The business benefits of supporting the employment of disadvantaged groups.