Social enterprises are supporting those in need in communities all over the world. They do this through applying business principles to tackle social problems.
If you want to learn about social enterprises that help the homeless, scroll down to learn about 10 of them located in the UK, Australia, the US and Canada.
1. Change Please
As the Most Ethical Initiative winner of 2022, it is evident that Change Please has made significant contributions to tackling homelessness. Cemal Ezel is the founder of Change Please, a UK-based social enterprise that generates revenue through coffee sales. It hires those experiencing homelessness and equips them with the skills needed to start a new life.
All of Change Please’s profits go towards providing the homeless with housing, income, and training to develop marketable skills. Change Please is active in 8+ countries and has raised over £2.5m in donations for those battling homelessness. It has seven locations in London and sells merchandise such as tote bags, hoodies, and shirts.
Find out more about Change Please.
2. Labre’s Hope
Aaron Probert is the founder of Labre’s Hope, a social enterprise based in South Yorkshire that began its journey in 2019. Intending to end homelessness in the UK, Labre’s Hope employs those battling homelessness to craft environmentally friendly products like soaps. It has paid over £110k in salaries and has generated 20+ jobs since its establishment.
Labre’s Hope also offers training for its employees, thus enabling them to gain skills and experiences that offer stability and paves the way for future opportunities. Along with selling its eco-friendly vegan soaps, Labre’s Hope generates income through selling luxury soap dishes and candles.
Get in touch with Labre’s Hope.
3. The Giving Keys
Caitlin Crosby is the founder of The Giving Keys social enterprise and saw its establishment in 2008. By contributing a portion of its profits to Chrysalis (a nonprofit organization that seeks to help those breaking out of homelessness by supporting them in their job search), The Giving Keys is based in California and contributes towards ending homelessness in the USA.
The Giving Keys generates revenue through key and padlock-shaped jewelry sales, like bracelets, necklaces, and earrings. They also offer a custom service where you can customize keys and keychains. Moreover, along with its donations, The Giving Keys employs those who experience homelessness to engrave their keys, thus enabling them to generate income.
Send a message to The Giving Keys.
4. City Beet Kitchens
1995 saw the establishment of City Beet Kitchens, a social enterprise based in New York, USA, that aims to help those wanting to break out of homelessness. City Beet Kitchens generates revenue by cooking and delivering delicious food for events such as corporate parties, private weddings, and client lunches.
Orders through City Beet Kitchens must be for a minimum of eight people, and examples of menu items include vegetable platters, meat skewers, and burgers (though the staff personalizes each order according to your requirements). City Beet Kitchens also has a Culinary Arts Program that helps those facing homelessness gain culinary experience.
Say hello to City Beet Kitchens.
5. The Empowerment Plan
To support families facing homelessness and help them earn a stable income in the USA, The Empowerment Plan aims to employ parents from shelters to make their products. The Empowerment Plan is based in Michigan, and its employees learn how to make unique coats that can turn into sleeping bags, thus enabling them to gain work experience.
The Empowerment Plan began operations in 2012 and has a 2-year program where it provides training for participants. So far, everyone in the program could leave the shelter within the first three months of working with The Empowerment Plan. In addition, the organization sells unisex shirts, baby clothes, and mugs.
Head to The Empowerment Plan.
Tony Clark is the CEO of Seasonfort, a social enterprise focused on helping the homeless in Australia. Seasonfort is based in Queensland and began business activities in 2016 and, today, generates revenue through the sale of high-quality and multi-functional camping gear, one of which is the Backpack Bed, Australia’s first officially released flame-retardant sleeping bag.
Seasonfort’s Backpack Bed is also waterproof and resistant to mildew. It prevents moisture absorption and has three thick layers to guard against the cold. Using its profits, Seasonfort helps fund shelters for homeless people, thus enabling them to access more essential resources and support.
Learn more about Seasonfort.
7. For Change Co.
With a mission to help young people in Australia who are struggling with homelessness, For Change Co. ensures that all of its profits go into programs that aim to reduce youth homelessness. For Change Co. is a social enterprise with five venues in Melbourne that sell delicious coffee and food items.
Along with its coffee and food sales, For Change Co. also generates revenue through its crêpe truck, which customers can book for events such as engagement parties and business functions. The organization employs youths facing homelessness and provides them with training to gain marketable skills for further employment.
Visit For Change Co.
The history of HoMie began in 2015 as a project to bring awareness to those facing homelessness. It is located in Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia, and supports young people struggling with homelessness through its social impact programs. Its programs involve employing at-risk youths in its store to provide them with relevant skills and work experiences.
HoMie generates revenue through its sale of clothing and accessories online or in-store. All of its earnings contribute to helping youths who are facing homelessness. In addition, the HoMie Pathway Alliance program gives the young participants eight months of retail training and six months of income to get them on their feet.
Check out HoMie.
9. Find Edmonton
Since 2009, Find Edmonton has been operating as a social enterprise providing furniture to those in the Housing First program, a program involved in helping people move out of homelessness. Find Edmonton is based in Alberta, Canada, and, as of 2019, has assisted 2000+ people and families in beating homelessness.
Find Edmonton generates revenue by selling furniture online or in its retail stores. All profits made from sales of furniture like armchairs, wicker baskets, figurines, and room dividers, go towards helping those moving out of homelessness. It has retail stores selling furniture to the general public and also sells other items like guitars, games, and skateboards.
Connect with Find Edmonton.
10. FoodWorks Ottawa
Through employing young people between the ages of 12 and 18, FoodWorks Ottawa works to help at-risk young people improve their marketable skill sets and get a source of income. FoodWorks Ottawa is based in Ottawa, Canada, and generates revenue through its catering services for events and the sale of individual meals.
FoodWorks Ottawa sells various food items and has a large catering menu with a sizable dessert section, enabling them to attract more customers and increase revenue. The organization then utilizes its earnings to pay its employees and provide support in helping them find further employment.
Contact FoodWorks Ottawa.