Solutions to homelessness are often considered the responsibility of NGOs, governments, and individuals experiencing homelessness. We at Raising the Roof feel that solutions to homelessness require action across society, including in the private sector. In short, we believe that homelessness is everybody’s business. In this chapter we review some of the major findings from Raising the Roof’s Private Sector Engagement Project, which has two main intentions. First, by partnering with eight community agencies across Canada in a year-long research study, we hope to increase our understanding of the ways in which community agencies are currently working with the private sector. Second, we wish to use the learnings from this research as a catalyst for change in attitudes and hiring practices within the private sector, thereby paving the way for new employment opportunities for at-risk and homeless youth. Based on findings from interviews with community agency staff and their private sector partners, we report on major strategies suggested for engaging the private sector in solutions to homelessness, as well as challenges in doing so. We conclude by discussing the next steps of our project, as well as highlighting the ways in which homelessness affects all Canadians and therefore requires all segments of society to work together towards a solution.
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