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Monzo, Pret a Manger and Thames Water commit to homelessness pledge

Leading businesses, including Monzo, Pret A Manger and Thames Water, have signed up to a new Homelessness Covenant created by charity Crisis.

The covenant, created in partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), is a set of pledges employers can take to support people at risk of or experiencing homelessness in the workplace. 

Employers will be able to build their understanding of what homelessness is and recognise and support employees who may be at risk of it. 

Read more: Supporting the working homeless: The employer's role

They can also pledge to provide employment and training opportunities for people at risk of homelessness, adopt fairer recruitment and employment opportunities and helping end homelessness in their communities through fundraising, raising awareness, partnerships and volunteering.  

Over half of employers believe that only those rough sleeping are experiencing homelessness, according to research from Crisis. 

However, Matt Downie, Crisis chief executive, said many employees are at risk of homelessness and housing insecurity.

He said: "It is vital that businesses understand all forms of homelessness – such as sofa-surfing and living in temporary accommodation – to ensure that their employees at risk can receive the support they need.”

Read more: How HR can support employees worrying about rent

Almost one in four (24%) households facing homelessness were in work, a total of 19,500 households, according to data from the Office for National Statistics released in March 2023.

In the past two years there has also been a 21% rise in working households facing homelessness.   

Mims Davies, minister for social mobility, youth and progression, said HR needs to help break down the stigma around homelessness in order to support workers.

Davies said: “Experiencing homelessness while working has a huge impact on physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.

"People experiencing homelessness are often anxious and exhausted when at work due to the mental toll of trying to hide their current circumstances and the constant struggle of trying to manage daily activities like eating, sleeping and washing.

"Many people living in temporary accommodation are often placed far from their place of work, leaving them with long commutes which are often costly and tiring. 

“This often means that people are unable to build meaningful relationships with colleagues and are reluctant to turn to their employer for support out of fear of losing their job.”

Read more: Helen Giles, HR lead at homelessness charity St Mungo's

Downie added: “We need everyone to play a part in tackling homelessness, and this includes businesses and employers providing the right assistance to staff when they fall on hard times. We hope that the Homelessness Covenant will offer employers the right tools to support them in doing so.”