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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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2004 Annual Report to the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness

August 2005

Table of Contents

Preface

Overview of Department of Labor Homeless Assistance, Activities and Accomplishments

DOL Homelessness Programs

Targeted Prevention and Intervention Programs

FY 2004 / 2005 Appropriations


Preface

This Administration has demonstrated strong leadership on the issue of homelessness. In June of 2001, the President reactivated the Interagency Council on Homelessness (ICH). Congress established the Council in 1987, as part of the Domestic Policy Council of the White House to coordinate the Federal response to homelessness under the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act, (now known as the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act).

The main goal of the Interagency Council is to abolish homelessness. The twenty-two Federal member agencies of the ICH are developing new strategies to better coordinate the nation's response to homelessness, including as the first priority, the President's goal of eliminating chronic homelessness by 2012. The Department of Labor is committed to the President's goal and is an active participant in both the Council and in the Administration's efforts to combat homelessness. On April 1, 2004, the Secretary of Labor became ICH Vice Chairperson. The next full council meeting will occur in summer 2005.


Overview of Department of Labor Homeless Assistance, Activities and Accomplishments

The Department of Labor (DOL) has a long history of leadership in assisting homeless individuals find permanent employment and self-sufficiency. Through both mainstream and targeted employment and training programs, homeless individuals and those vulnerable to homelessness are provided with critical tools and training to enter into the workforce and succeed.

DOL administers programs providing services that are crucial components in the comprehensive efforts to address the cycle of homelessness. The Department has an important role in combating homelessness by encouraging access to employment-focused services and by providing workforce assistance to those who are homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless. DOL programs help homeless individuals become a part of the workforce by offering both mainstream and targeted programs that are employment-focused and help lead to self-sufficiency. These programs are described in detail in this report.

The DOL Homelessness Working Group develops and recommends Departmental strategies to support the Administration's goals of ending chronic homelessness by 2012, and significantly reducing homelessness in America. Agencies represented on the DOL Working Group include the Employment and Training Administration, the Veterans' Employment and Training Service, the Office of Disability Employment Policy, the Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy, the Office of Public Affairs and the Office of the Solicitor.

The DOL homeless strategy focuses on helping homeless Americans who want to work or can become job-ready, by providing opportunities to achieve employment that leads to self-sufficiency. DOL's strategic objectives are to: 1) provide access to mainstream employment assistance and services; and 2) identify and address skill needs that promote self-sufficiency.

The Department's mainstream programs, authorized under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), offer employment and training services to all individuals in need of assistance, including those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. As the Federal agency with primary responsibility for employment and training services, DOL is working to remove barriers so homeless persons may better access the workforce investment system. The Administration's proposal to reauthorize WIA provides more flexibility to states and streamlines programs, which will help improve services to targeted populations though the comprehensive One-Stop Career Center system.

In addition to opportunities and assistance afforded to homeless persons through mainstream programs, DOL is directly involved in preventing and reducing homelessness through targeted and specialized employment and training programs such as the Homeless Veterans' Reintegration Programs, the Veterans' Workforce Investment Program, the Responsible Reintegration of Youthful Offenders and the Ready4Work initiatives, Job Corps, and through pilot and demonstration projects such as the Incarcerated Veterans Transition Program and the Department of Labor-Department of Housing and Urban Development collaborative "Ending Chronic Homelessness through Employment and Housing" grants. Each of these initiatives is an employment-focused effort directed toward getting people to work and giving them hope in their future. The Department is also a major funding and participating agency in the Department of Justice's Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative.

During Fiscal Years 2003-2004, the Department of Labor joined the Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Health and Human Services (HHS), and Veterans Affairs (VA) in sponsoring the Policy Academies, which are designed to help State and local policy makers develop action plans to improve access to mainstream health, human and employment services for people who are homeless. DOL sponsorship of these important homelessness-planning conferences has resulted in the active participation of state workforce investment system representatives on the State homelessness planning teams. Members of DOL's Homelessness Working Group, as well as DOL Regional Representatives, actively participate in the Policy Academies.

In the 2004 State of the Union address, President Bush announced the new multi-agency Prisoner Reentry Initiative (PRI). DOL is the lead agency on PRI. Initial funding was appropriated by Congress in 2005.

DOL launched its DOL Homeless web site in 2004 designed to help service providers to the homeless as well as America's homeless find jobs, news and services through mainstream as well as targeted programs. This site also provides a vital link to government-wide resources. The address is: http://www.dol.gov/dol/audience/aud-homeless.htm.

This report describes each of these important DOL efforts to end the cycle of homelessness by providing homeless persons and those at risk of homelessness with the services they need to become self-sufficient.


DOL Homelessness Programs

Mainstream Programs

The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) authorizes the Department of Labor�s mainstream employment and training programs. WIA provides access to employment-focused assistance for all individuals in need of help, including hard-to-serve populations such as the homeless.


The Workforce Investment Act

Statutory Authority

The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998, Public Law 105-220, was enacted on August 7, 1998, 112 Stat. 936 (29 U.S.C. 2801). The Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration (ETA) administers Title I of WIA.

Program Description

WIA established a national infrastructure for a coordinated workforce investment system designed to provide comprehensive employment and training services and information to individuals in need of assistance through an accessible delivery system: American Job Centers. WIA is based on the principle of federal, state and local partnerships. States and localities are given broad discretion to design and operate their systems to meet state and local needs. State and local Workforce Investment Boards develop strategic plans and set priorities to meet workforce needs. The majority of board members on both state and local boards are business people. Most WIA funding flows to the states and local areas by formula. The mainstream WIA program includes three funding streams: youth, adult and dislocated workers. Participants seeking assistance through One-Stop Centers are provided with services designed to meet individual needs. Customer choice is promoted through Individual Training Accounts, which allow individuals to choose the kind of training and the training provider that best meets their needs and interests.

As part of the One-Stop service delivery system, the Wagner-Peyser funded Employment Service focuses on providing a variety of employment-related labor exchange services, including but not limited to job search assistance, job referral, and placement assistance for job seekers, re-employment services to unemployment insurance claimants, and recruitment services to employers with job openings. Because these are the same services authorized under WIA, the Administration has proposed consolidation of the programs in order to reduce administrative overhead, reduce duplication and provide more services to employers and job seekers.

In addition to the mainstream services available to the homeless under WIA and the Wagner-Peyser Act, DOL has identified additional ways to facilitate services to the homeless through technical assistance, identifying promising practices and research. DOL does collect information on the number of homeless youth served by WIA. Although DOL does not currently count the number of homeless adults or dislocated workers served by WIA, it is being proposed under the reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act that data collection requirements be expanded to include the collection of this information for adults. For example, the DOL Fiscal Year 2003-2008 Strategic Plan establishes a goal to "increase the number of homeless persons who receive workforce services." To accomplish this, DOL has proposed a revision to the WIA reporting system in order to collect information on the number of WIA adult program registrants who are homeless, and the percentage of WIA homeless adult program registrants who are employed through these programs. Targets for outcome goals dealing with homeless veterans are also included in the DOL Strategic Plan.

Technical Assistance to Mainstream Workforce Programs

DOL provides technical assistance to help homeless service providers in their efforts to assist homeless individuals in accessing the WIA system, in order to take full advantage of the employment and training services available though the One-Stop Career Center delivery system. Two multi-agency efforts involving DOL and other Federal agencies were undertaken to make the workforce system more accessible to the homeless.

One is known as "First Step" on the path to benefits for people who are homeless. It provides an interactive electronic tool via CD-ROM and a web site to local case managers, outreach workers and others working with people who are homeless. Developed by HHS and HUD, DOL joined the effort to ensure that service providers are made aware of all resources, including those of the workforce investment system, available to provide assistance to homeless individuals in a given community.

The second effort is a component of a $13.5 million interagency collaborative initiative that pairs supportive housing1 with employment and training services through the American Job Centers.2 Technical assistance is provided to those grantees selected to implement this initiative. The initiative will also develop research and materials that will assist the broader workforce investment system in providing better services to homeless youth and adults.

Among the materials that the technical assistance provider is disseminating are the relevant and updated elements of two publications developed attendant to the earlier Job Training for the Homeless Demonstration Program (JTHDP) carried out by the Department in the 1980's and 1990's: Employment and Training for America's Homeless: Best Practices Guide and Employment and Training for America's Homeless: Final Report on the Job Training for the Homeless Demonstration Program.

Identifying and Sharing Promising Practices

DOL is actively identifying "promising practices" that best serve homeless individuals through the workforce investment system. These successful practices are consistently being identified and disseminated as examples to be used by state and local agency officials and partners concerned with serving the homeless. These practices are shared with state and local officials at the Interagency Homeless Policy Academies to help them develop more effective action plans to serve homeless individuals. These "promising practices" are posted on the DOL web site and are shared with homeless service providers, DOL grantees and workforce professionals who wish to duplicate such efforts.

Research

DOL is identifying approaches that effectively serve the homeless population through both targeted and mainstream programs by recognizing and meeting their unique employment and training needs.

Most recently, a 2004 study by Social Policy Research Associates of Federal training efforts identified a sample of One-Stop sites that serve the homeless, with the following tentative observations: (1) One-Stop Centers which self-identify as service providers to homeless individuals and families and are connected to a network of service providers for them appear to be more effective in serving this population; (2) a service strategy that emphasizes high expectations through initial job placement over job training while providing targeted supports — including comprehensive continuous assessment and case management services — results in greater success for homeless individuals; and, finally, (3) strong political support in local communities can help mold an interdisciplinary team to best assist the homeless by linking mainstream resources throughout the community and government and by increasing the opportunity for replication of these effective partnership strategies.

Budget

The Fiscal Year 2004 Appropriation for the mainstream WIA and employment service programs was:

Adult Training

$ 898,890,800

Dislocated Worker Training

$1,454,419,116

Youth Training

$995,059,306

Employment Service

$786,886,814

1Programs funded through the Department of Housing and Urban Development
2DOL funding for this initiative comes from three agencies: ETA, ODEP, and VETS


Targeted Prevention and Intervention Programs

In addition to mainstream WIA services, DOL provides assistance through targeted prevention and intervention programs for homeless and at-risk populations. Most of these initiatives are grant programs funded through national competitions.


Prevention Programs

Research suggests that certain populations are at very high risk of becoming homeless. This is particularly true of individuals who are exiting publicly-funded institutions, such as foster care, correctional facilities, and inpatient mental health and detoxification services. The DOL supports several prevention programs directed at these high-risk populations.


Job Corps

Job Corps is the nation's largest and most comprehensive residential education and job training program for at-risk youth, ages 16 through 24. Job Corps combines classroom, practical, and work-based learning experiences to prepare youth for stable, long-term, high-paying jobs. There are 122 Job Corps centers, located in 49 states and Puerto Rico, each offering educational training and a variety of vocational training programs.

Statutory Authority

Title I-C of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 authorizes the Job Corps program (29 U.S.C. 2881-2901). The Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration administers Job Corps through the Office of Job Corps, under the leadership of a National Director, supported by a National Office staff and a field network of Regional Offices.

Program Description

The Job Corps program is primarily residential, and provides comprehensive academic and vocational training services, as well as supportive services including room and board, transportation, health care, and a clothing allowance. Foster care, homeless and runaway youth are specifically targeted as eligible to receive services under the program. Through improved tracking methods and outreach, Job Corps has significantly increased the numbers of youth served who are identified as foster care, homeless or runaway (from approximately 240 in 2001 to more than 2,000 projected in 2004). The services provided by Job Corps help prevent foster care and runaway youth from becoming homeless.

Budget

The FY 2004 appropriation for Jobs Corps was: $1,541,151,338.


Reentry Programs

The DOL Employment and Training Administration (ETA) funded a number of programs designed to improve employment outcomes for ex-offenders and reduce crime and recidivism.


Youth Offender Demonstration Grants

In 2004, ETA awarded nearly $50 million to provide services to at-risk youth and youth offenders throughout the nation.Projects included:

  • Youth Offender Demonstration Project Impact Study: The Department of Labor awarded grants totaling $5.1 millionto six of the original 20 Youth Offender Demonstration project grantees to perform an impact study on the effectiveness of these programs on youth offenders. The original Youth Offender Demonstration project was designed to prepare and place at-risk youth, youth offenders, and gang members, between the ages of 14 and 24, in long-term employment at wage levels that prevent future dependency.
  • Youth Offender Investments to States: The Department of Labor made investments totaling $13.2million in eight states to develop model programs in one youth correctional facility in each state. These programs are designed to increase the academic performance and workforce preparation of incarcerated youth.
  • Targeted Youth Offender Investments:The Department of Labor made grants to 17national, regional, and local organizations to serve specific target populations of young offenders and youth at-risk of criminal involvement through a variety of workforce development and support services.

Ready4Work

Ready4Work is an ex-offender re-entry workforce development initiative of ETA and DOL's Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (CFBCI). Ready4Work is a three-year national demonstration project, funded by DOL, DOJ and a consortium of private foundations that mobilizes local coalitions to work together for sustainable ex-offender reentry, and to improve outcomes for ex-offenders and the communities in which they live.

Ready4Work is a public/private initiative that focuses on non-religious mentoring, employment and training as well as other supportive services for men and women returning from state and Federal correctional facilities. Ready4Work operates in 16 cities across the nation, and will serve an estimated 5,200 participants by 2006. The three-year budget for Ready4Work is $32,500,000, of which $17.5 million was provided by DOL.


Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI)

DOL is collaborating with the Departments of Justice, HHS, Education and HUD to focus on the increasing number of offenders who are being released from prisons, jails or court-affiliated training schools through the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI). This initiative is designed to reduce further criminal activity by violent ex-offenders upon their return to their communities through job training and supportive services in preparation for gainful employment.

SVORI is a comprehensive effort that addresses both juvenile and adult populations of serious, high-risk offenders. It provides funding to develop, implement, enhance, and evaluate reentry strategies that ensure the safety of the community and the reduction of serious, violent crimes. Sixty-nine grants with a total value of $125,000,000 will be in operation from July 2002 through June 2005. DOL provided $52,660,000 of this total.


Foster Youth Demonstration Grant Program

The White House Task Force for Disadvantaged Youth has identified youth in foster care, particularly those aging out of foster care, as one of the most vulnerable populations in the country. Currently, there are over 500,000 children and youth in foster care in the United States. Youth aging out of foster care are one of the key target groups for youth programs in the Workforce Investment Act. As many as 30 percent of youth aging out of foster care become homeless; yet we do not have good models in place for helping these youth move into employment and self-sufficiency.

The Department of Labor awarded five grants in the largest urban areas across the country to provide comprehensive employment and supportive services to youth aging out of foster care. This program requires grantees to partner with various local and state agencies to ensure that the many challenges of foster youth are met so that they can successfully pursue employment or continuing education. ETA provided $2 million to this initiative in 2004 and grantees leveraged an additional $2 million.


Prisoner Reentry Initiative

The President's Prisoner Reentry Initiative (PRI) seeks to strengthen urban communities characterized by large numbers of returning prisoners through an employment-centered program that incorporates mentoring, job training, and other comprehensive transitional services. This program, which involves several Federal agencies, was designed in 2004 to reduce recidivism by helping inmates find work when they return to their communities, as part of an effort to build a life in the community for everyone. Congress appropriated $30 million for PRI ($20 million to DOL and $10 million to DOJ) in fiscal year 2005.


Incarcerated Veterans Transition Program (IVTP)

The Incarcerated Veterans' Transition Program (IVTP) is authorized under 38 U.S.C. 2023, as added by Section 5 of Public Law 107-95, the Homeless Comprehensive Assistance Act of 2001. The IVTP is a demonstration program operated by DOL's Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS) in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Bureau of Prisons, and the National Institute of Corrections. The seven grantees funded under this program will provide intensive services to incarcerated veterans, including restoration of VA benefits, VA healthcare, and employment and training services. The purpose of the program is to expedite the reintegration into the labor force and reduce the recidivism rate of veteran ex-offenders, who are at high risk of homelessness. VETS funded the first year of the Incarcerated Veterans' Transition Program (IVTP) demonstration grants for $1,450,000.

In addition, a VETS-funded demonstration grant developed a training course to teach service providers how to effectively assist incarcerated veterans with their transition into the workforce. The Incarcerated Veterans' Transition Program training course is now an approved course and is being offered at the National Veterans' Training Institute in Denver, Colorado.


Intervention Programs

Several DOL programs provide intervention services to those who have become homeless, including veterans and people with disabilities. The goal of these employment-related programs is to provide assistance to the homeless to help them become self-sufficient. The first two intervention programs target homeless veterans in particular.


Homeless Veterans' Reintegration Program (HVRP)

Statutory Authority

The Homeless Veterans' Reintegration Program (HVRP) was first authorized under section 738 of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act in July 1987. It is currently authorized under 38 U.S.C. 2021, and is administered by DOL's Assistant Secretary for Veterans' Employment and Training (VETS).

Program Description

HVRP provides services to help homeless veterans obtain meaningful employment and to stimulate the development of effective service delivery systems to address the complex problems facing homeless veterans. HVRP is the only nationwide program exclusively focused on assisting homeless veterans reintegrate into the workforce.

HVRP funds are awarded through competitive grants. Eligible entities include state and local Workforce Investment Boards, public agencies, for-profit or commercial entities, and non-profit organizations, including faith-based and community organizations. Grantees provide veterans with intensive case management, employment and training services, and critical linkages to supportive services available in their local communities. Job placement, training, job development, career counseling and resume preparation are among the services provided.
Since its inception, HVRP has featured an outreach component using veterans who have experienced homelessness. In recent years, this successful technique was modified to allow the programs to utilize formerly homeless veterans in various other positions where there is direct client contact such as counseling, peer coaching, intake, and follow-up services. Congress appropriated $18,888,000 for the HVRP in FY 2004.

Stand Down Activities: A portion of HVRP funds are used to support Stand Down activities. A "Stand Down" is an event held in a local community where a variety of social services are provided to homeless veterans. Stand Down organizers partner with local business and social service providers to provide critical services such as haircuts, meals, legal advice, medical examinations, dental treatment, hygiene care kits, immunizations and information on Veterans Benefits, training and employment. The critical services provided at a Stand Down event are often the catalyst that returns homeless veterans to mainstream society. The maximum amount is awarded for a Stand Down event is $5,000. During FY 2004, VETS provided $135,585 for 28 Stand-Downs which provided direct assistance to 6,586 homeless veterans.


Veterans' Workforce Investment Program (VWIP)

Statutory Authority

The Veterans' Workforce Investment Program (VWIP) is authorized by Section 168 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (29 U.S.C. 2913). The VWIP funds are awarded to eligible entities through competitive grants. Eligible entities include State and Local Workforce Investment Boards, State and State Agencies, Local Public Agencies, and private non-profit organizations, including community based and faith-based organizations.

Program Description

The primary objectives of VWIP are to provide services to assist in reintegrating eligible veterans into meaningful employment within the labor force and to stimulate the development of effective service delivery systems that will address the complex problems facing eligible veterans. VWIP eligible participants include:

  • veterans with service-connected disabilities;
  • veterans who have significant barriers to employment;
  • veterans who served on active duty in the armed forces during a war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized, and
  • recently separated veterans (within 48 months of discharge).

VWIP grantees provide an array of services utilizing a case management approach that provides veterans with the employment and training services they need to re-enter the labor force, and provides critical linkages to a variety of supportive services available in their local communities. The program allows for specialized employment, training, and educational resources to be tailored to meet the needs of the specific target populations of veterans served. In many programs, minority, female, economically disadvantaged, homeless, and/or disabled veterans can be targeted to receive these specialized resources. In FY 2004, $7,505,000 was appropriated for VWIP.


Ending Chronic Homelessness through Employment and Housing Demonstration Grants

DOL's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), Employment and Training Administration (ETA), and the Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS) have collaborated on a competitive grant program to increase and improve employment opportunities for persons who are chronically homeless. In support of the DOL awards, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is supplementing each the five projects funded by DOL with HUD resources to support housing needs. The goal of these projects is to develop tailored employment strategies to enable people who are chronically homeless to achieve employment, permanent housing and self-sufficiency.

These demonstration projects are designed to bring together the respective expertise and capabilities of the local workforce investment system (American Job Centers and their partners) and local permanent housing service organizations to develop and document the most effective strategies to respond to the employment needs of persons who are chronically homeless. Lessons learned will be applied to build the capacity within the mainstream employment and training system to serve hard-to-serve populations such as persons who are chronically homeless. Fiscal Year 2004 funding for the DOL grants was $3,125,000. HUD funded this initiative at $10,000,000.


DOL Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives

The Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (CFBCI) at DOL was created by Executive Order 13198 on January 29, 2001. The Center's mission is to empower faith-based and community organizations (FBCOs) that help their neighbors enter, succeed, and thrive in the workplace. To accomplish this mission, CFBCI works to remove administrative and regulatory barriers and develop innovative programs to foster partnerships between DOL-funded programs and FBCOs. CFBCI educates organizations about local opportunities to collaborate with government and about opportunities to participate in national grant programs. The Center also works with local government officials and administrators to integrate FBCOs into the strategic planning and service delivery process of local Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs).

The Employment and Training Administration and CFBCI worked together to create several groundbreaking pilot projects:

  • Ready4Work—This three-year, $32.5 million national demonstration project is described earlier in this report in the section on reentry programs.
  • One-Stop Career Center System Mini-Grants—ETA awarded $2.2 million to help 84 grassroots FBCOs across the nation build links to the One-Stop Career Center system through grants that emphasize short applications and highly simplified administrative requirements.
  • Touching Lives and Communities (TLC)—In order to tap the more than $4 billion in DOL formula grants going to state and local workforce systems, two distinct partnerships models were developed in Memphis, TN, and Milwaukee, WI, that bridged the funding gap between local WIBs and FBCOs.
  • Grants for WIBs—These grants were built on the TLC projects and fostered new partnerships between WIBs and FBCOs.

DOL CFBCI efforts extend beyond grant programs. Through partnerships with DOL agencies, CFBCI offers outreach and technical assistance for many agency programs. CFBCI also provides resources to hundreds of grantees, members of WIBs, and staff from American Job Centers through Web-based communications, conference calls, publications, technical assistance video, and conferences.


FY 2004 / 2005 Appropriations

FY 2004 and FY 2005 Appropriated Funding for DOL Programs Serving the Homeless

FY 04

FY 05

Mainstream Workforce Investment Programs

Adult Training

898,890,800

900,000,000

Dislocated Worker Training

1,454,519,000

1,343,040,000

Youth Training

995,059,000

1,000,986,000

Wagner-Peyser Act Employment Service

786,887,000

696,000,000

Targeted Programs
(serving homeless and/or at risk persons)

Responsible Reintegration for Youthful Offenders[3]

49,705,000

55,000,000

Prisoner Reentry Initiative

35,000,000

Homeless Veterans' Reintegration Program (includes Incarcerated Veterans Transition Demonstration Program and Stand Down activities)

18,888,000

20,832,000

Veterans' Workforce Investment Program

7,505,000

8,482,000

Job Corps

1,541,151,000

1,551,287,000

Ending Chronic Homelessness Through Employment and Housing[4]

4,625,000

4,625,000



3Includes Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative, Ready4Work, Youth Offender Foster Care Initiative.
4Initiative consists of five three-year demonstration projects and a technical assistance component. Funding for the DOL components of the initiative is provided by the Office of Disability Employment Policy, the Employment & Training Administration, and the Veterans' Employment and Training Service.