The role of local businesses in addressing multidimensional needs of homeless populations

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8 Scopus citations


Contrary to the perception that the business community can be hostile and exclusive toward individuals experiencing homelessness, local businesses can and do serve homeless populations at multiple levels. This article proposes a theoretical framework that links the versatile roles that local businesses can play in addressing various dimensions of human needs. This theoretical framework is illustrated through two models in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, which focus on the role of business improvement districts (BIDs) and a social enterprise intervention (SEI), respectively. These models demonstrate that the business community can meet not only physical needs but also the emotional and self-actualization goals of homeless individuals. This article suggests that social work education and field education curricula can benefit from engaging the business sector in addressing complex social issues, such as homelessness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-402
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 3 2019


  • Business
  • hierarchy of needs
  • homeless
  • multisectoral
  • social development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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