Entrepreneurial development for U.S. minority homeless and unstably housed youth: A qualitative inquiry on value, barriers, and impact on health

Jennings, L.,
Shore, D.,
Strohminger, N.,
Allison, B.
Published: February, 2015
Journal Article
Journal Name: 
Children and Youth Services Review
Volume: 49


These authors examined African-American homeless and unstably housed youth's interests in entrepreneurial development programming to enhance their economic self-sufficiency and health-related outcomes. They conducted nine focus groups and one in-depth interview with 52 purposively-selected youth, aged 15 to 24, who had experienced homelessness within the prior 18 months. The majority of youth were unemployed in the formal sector, but actively engaged in income-generating activities in the informal sector. Four themes related to their interest in entrepreneurial development initiatives emerged: the perceived inadequacy of traditional income and educational pathways, wanting to be one's own boss, desire for alternatives to joblessness and illicit income risks, and interest in building on current entrepreneurial activities. Commonly perceived barriers were lack of business mentors and opportunities, not knowing “what was possible”, difficulty in changing prior mindsets, and anticipated negative reactions from peers. Youth envisioned that entrepreneurial development activities would inspire a range of health protective behaviors by minimizing poverty-related depression, hopelessness, and anxiety. Modified Author Abstract.

Correspondence to: Larissa Jennings, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of International Health, Social and Behavioral Interventions Program, 615 North Wolfe Street, Room E5038, Baltimore, MD 21205; Telephone: (410) 955-3537, E-mail: ljennin6@jhu.edu, Website: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/01907409/49/supp/C
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