Workforce Analysis

Why is the United Way conducting a Homeless Sector Workforce Analysis?

Los Angeles cannot make progress on homelessness without a capable and adequate workforce. Today, there are over 8,000 positions in the local homeless services sector, but it is a sector in crisis. Roughly 33% of those positions are vacant. The vast majority (82%) of those vacancies are in direct service/front line positions, which are critical to getting clients assessed, document ready, housed, and stabilized. The remaining vacancies are in administration and management positions which are critical to guiding this complex system through an unprecedented period of resource expansion.

Since our inception in 2010, the Home For Good initiative has been rooted in an understanding that it will take a unified, collective effort—of every individual, community, and organization—and an unwavering commitment to our values to end homelessness in L.A. County. That commitment includes a continuous investment in the evolving capacity needs of the homeless sector workforce, and our values demand those investments be person-centered, equitable, ethical, and scalable. To that end, we are partnering with KPMG to deepen our collective understanding of the workforce challenges in the homeless services sector and then using that understanding to make smarter, more impactful investments in the organizations and workforce that make homelessness rare, brief, non-recurring, and less dangerous.

How are we deepening our collective understanding?

Home for Good is partnering with KPMG to conduct a multi-faceted analysis of the homeless services sector in LA. This will be accomplished by scraping publicly-available data about hiring and workforce trends across more than 150 organizations, collecting workforce data from a representative sample of organizations in the sector, asking selected employees about the experiences they are having in the workforce through focus groups and electronic surveys.  The goal of all this data collection is to have a better understanding the patterns, trends, and perceptions of culture, employee experience and the sector’s strongest value proposition.

General Data Collection

The KPMG team is scraping publicly available data about the local homeless sector from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, local area unemployment statistics, EMSI labor market modeling, and job posting data from organizations like LinkedIn to analyze historic migration trends and the workforce retention patterns.  That data, along with KPMG’s proprietary Signals Repository database, will reveal key sector-wide hiring and retention patterns in the context of wider economic trends. In addition, over 40 organizations in the sector have been invited to submit de-identified data about their workforce demographics, their current workforce, and the workforce they are planning for with the resources they’ve been provided to date. If your organization is interested in being included in the study, please email us at

Focus Groups

Our goal is to dialogue with stakeholders from 40 organizations in the sector and schedule 20-25  focus group sessions to learn about their experiences, hopes, and concerns about the sector overall.  These focus groups will be segmented by experience and roles to understand how culture and experience differs across affinity groups. Participating employees will be offered an opportunity for a modest $25 gift card compensation in acknowledgement of the value of their time and contribution to our understanding.

Possible Affinity Groups for Focus Groups:

Experience Based Stakeholders

  • Senior Leaders
  • BIPOC Leaders/ Leaders of BIPOC serving organizations​
  • New Hire Front Line Worker​
  • Tenure < 6 months​

Role Based Stakeholders

  • Case Managers
  • Housing Navigators/ Outreach Coordinators
  • Site Senior Leaders
  • Matchers
  • Counselors/Mental Health Specialists
  • Support Staff/Operations

Employee Survey

A 15-minute employee survey evaluates the viewpoints of employees and is designed to gather diverse worker sentiment on culture, employee experience, employer brand, employee value proposition, etc.​ Our plan is to deliver an anonymous electronic survey to ~200 employees utilizing 5-6 employees from the 40 organizations selected. Employees selected for this participation will be invited to answer questions about learning and development, inclusion and culture, expertise and experience, well-being, and retention. Once submitted, participating employees will be offered an opportunity for modest $25 gift card compensation in acknowledgement of the value of their time and contribution to our understanding.

Frequently Asked Questions


United Way of Greater Los Angeles (UWGLA) and our Philanthropic Partners are committed to responding to the workforce needs of the homeless services sector to help address the talent crisis. To do this, we’ve partnered with KPMG to understand the challenges that are consistent across the sector, not those that may be unique to specific organizations. 

Workforce Data Collection Template Frequently Asked Questions 

Q: We are a smaller organization and do not track some of the data requested. How should we respond? 

A: If you do not have data to provide an answer to a question, please do not leave your answer blank. Instead, input “Not data available” in your response. We understand that exact numbers may be difficult to obtain and welcome you to provide answers with approximations where necessary. 

Q: We noticed the template does not capture the number of formerly incarcerated employees. Can we add that in?  

A: Yes, if you have that data available feel free to add that in either within the template or in your email response back to us. Please do not indicate why employees were incarcerated and only provide us the number of formerly incarcerated employees.  

Q: We employ employees that are in other sectors in addition to homeless services (e.g., healthcare). Should we include these employees in the template? 

A: You may include the total number of employees in your organization regardless of what sector they work in on Question 1 of the “Demographics” tab. For the purposes of this study, we are focused on capturing data of your homeless services employees including those that are in client-facing roles (e.g., Case Managers, Housing Coordinators, etc.) and those that are in administrative roles (HR, IT, etc.). Please answer the remaining questions to focus on providing data only for employees in the homeless services sector. 

Q: Should we include contractors that work in other organizations in the homeless services sector in our total employee count?  

A: Focus on including employees that work for your organization in your response. If there are a significant number of contractors that work in other organizations in the homeless services sector but are a contractor in your organization, you can let us know these details in an email. 

Q: How do we group which generations employees are in?  

A: We recommend making assumptions based on employee birthdays and the year they were born. Here is the recommended grouping:  

  • Baby boomer (born 1946 – 1964) 
  • Generation X (born 1965-1980) 
  • Generation Z (born 1997-2012)
  • Millennial (born 1981-1996)