Social Development, Social Enterprise, and Homeless Youth

Social Development, Social Enterprise, and Homeless Youth

Traditional service delivery for homeless youths consists of residential as well as outreach and shelter services. Although traditional services aim to mitigate the health, mental health, and social problems of homeless youths, this approach fails to replace their street-survival behaviors with other legal, income-generating activities. Due to its focus on meeting these youths’ basic needs, traditional service provision reflects the remedial or maintenance-consumption approach to social work. In the case of homeless youths, successful strategies to move them from the informal to the formal economy require more than employment in low-paying positions, since their formal labor-market participation is often hindered by the challenges inherent in living on the streets. This chapter describes existing social investment strategies for homeless youths and suggests that through social enterprises, these youths can acquire vocational and business skills, mentorship, clinical treatment, and linkages to services to facilitate their economic and social self-sufficiency.

AUTHORS: Kristin Ferguson
PUBLISHER: Oxford Scholarship Online
PUBLICATION DATE: 2010