I think this article is great. It's a wonderful start and could go very far. The mayor of Albuquerque saw a homeless man with a 'Will work' sign. It gave him a great idea.
This is a program where a van drives around, looking for homeless people. The homeless people who say "yes" (over 70% of them do) get in, and they work for 5 1/2 hours doing beautification work. They get a free lunch and $45 when they are dropped off at a center where they have access to food, shelter and other services.
When a person becomes homeless, they lose many things besides a roof over their head. They lose a safe place to sleep. They lose the ability to have a place to safely store their things. The number of their possessions are literally reduced to what they can carry. They have little or no access to hygiene, or food. No refrigerator, no storing food. No stove, no preparing food, except in the most rudimentary way. For most of them, the only clothes they have are the ones they are wearing. They also lose the ability to receive Postal Mail. With them limited to what they can carry, a SS Card/birth certificate/ID to verify the persons identity is probably non-existent.
So, here is this person who wants to work. How they got there is unimportant. Where they want to be in the future is. They have skills and abilities. However their entire day is spent chasing the chance of a meal and a place to sleep for the night. They don't have the ability to clean themselves and wear clean, neat clothes for a job interview. They can't receive mail to get job offers (no more "General Delivery" at the Post Office) and most likely have no way to reliably access email, even if they have an email address. A steady job, would, by the way end their homelessness pretty quickly.
In a situation like this, you can't "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" because... you have no boots, let alone bootstraps.
I can see how a program like this can be improved. Have local businesses work with this program. If a person works a certain number of shifts, they get an interview with a business "as-is," meaning their cleanliness and condition is not a consideration in the interview. The business pays the deposit and 2-3 months rent for a furnished studio or one-bedroom apartment, having the new worker gradually repay the debt and move forward.
I have known people who have slept on the streets so long, when they get into a place of their own, it sometimes takes 6+ months before they stop sleeping on the floor with all their things in the corner behind them.
If you can, start a program like this in your town. Lift others up. Pay it forward. Do good deeds.