Shawn Stanford wipes sweat from his brow as he works at 18-Below Raw Bar in Waterville on November 14, 2022.
A 2021 study by the University of Chicago found that 53% of people under the age of 65 who were living in homeless shelters in 2010 were employed either full- or part-time. The percentage dropped in earlier years but still showed that from 2011 to 2018 an average of 39% of sheltered homeless had worked during the previous year. Meanwhile, 40% of unsheltered people were employed in 2010, the study found.
It is difficult to track the number of working homeless in Maine and nationally â the University of Chicago constructed its own dataset of the entire U.S. homeless population while incorporating individual-level government benefits and tax records. But the study still provides an understanding of the headwinds facing the homeless who are collecting a wage.