SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Connecting Grounds, a religious nonprofit that serves the homeless and those in need in the Springfield area, conducted a study in which they questioned homeless people about their work readiness.

For the study, the Connecting Grounds interviewed 204 people, which represents about 10% of the homeless population in Springfield.

Nearly 50% of the people in the study were between the ages of 36 and 50. All people interviewed were of an age eligible to work: 16 or older. Just over 60% of the people interviewed identified as male. More than three-fourths — 79.4% — said they were White or Caucasian.

Some interesting findings of the survey include COVID-related issues. One-fourth of the 204 people said that they lost their job during the COVID pandemic and 44.1% of the people reported that they became homeless during the pandemic.

Current work status

I do not work right now62.3%
I receive disability17.6%
I work full-time10.3%
I work part-time9.8%

Reasons for those who are not working

I am seeking employment41.9%
I am not seeking employment23.6%
I am not seeking employment currently but would like to work if I could overcome barriers that I have to working19.9%
I have applied for disability14.7%

Of the people surveyed, 46.6% have applied for anywhere from one to 10 jobs in the past year. About 31.9% of the homeless population applied to zero jobs in the past year. The remaining 21.5% of people applied to more than 10 jobs in the past year.

The people who have stopped looking for work said they did so because of frustrations with obstacles to working (49.5%), disability (28.8%), or health (21.7%).

The study also asked the homeless what some of the biggest barriers to them working were. The top five reasons were:

  • Stable shelter — 64.2%
  • Transportation — 57.4%
  • Mental health — 32.4%
  • Work clothing/shoes — 30.4%
  • ID and vital document requirements — 29.9%

On Sept. 28, the Connecting Grounds will be hosting a public Zoom call that the community is invited to. During the call, they will discuss the information from this study and how they can use it to “lower barriers to work in our city.”