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Social entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial philanthropy: their contribution to a ‘what works’ system in the homelessness field

Roberts, Jonathan (2022) Social entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial philanthropy: their contribution to a ‘what works’ system in the homelessness field. The European Journal of Homelessness.

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Historically it has not been only (or even primarily) governments that have sought to respond to the complex challenge of homelessness. From alms-houses for the elderly funded through religious charity, to large-scale social housing provided by philanthropists, to refuges for women who are escaping domestic violence provided by non-profit organisations, private actors have intervened in diverse ways. Over the last decades there has been a significant re-emergence of such private action for public benefit across multiple fields of social action. Examples of this re-emergence include a global increase in non-profit associations, growing numbers of philanthropic foundations, and the emergence of hybrid organisations such as social enterprises that combine social purpose with commercial activities (Salamon, 1994; Defourny and Nyssens, 2017; Johnson, 2018). These developing phenomena have complex origins, but a consistent theme is awareness of the limits of government and the market to resolve persistent social problems (such as poverty), or tackle new ones (such as climate change). This re-emergence has been characterised by a concurrent re-imagining of the function and approach of private action, including a sharpened focus on impact and evidence. This article explores two influential and interconnected examples of this reimagining of private action for public benefit – social entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial philanthropy – and reflects upon their potential contribution to an evidence-based system of innovation and intervention in the homelessness field. The paper first introduces the concept of social entrepreneurship, exploring its potential contribution to a what works system, and describes the role of entrepreneurial philanthropy in funding such approaches. It then makes tentative proposals about the specific functions of social entrepreneurship in the homelessness field. Please consult the original publication on the journal webpage.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2022 European Journal of Homelessness.
Divisions: Marshall Ins for Philanthropy & Soc Entr
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2022 15:12
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2023 17:24

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