The role of results-oriented management in reshaping homeless assistance in western New York
Bessel Matteson, Diane Rose
MetadataShow full item record
With the passage of the Government Performance and Results Act in 1993, Congress announced a commitment to results-oriented management requiring federal agencies to improve their management and decision-making while increasing their accountability. The new directives required federal agencies to demonstrate their effectiveness as a means of securing their budget allocation. In turn, many government agencies reshaped their funding processes and requirements to achieve success within the new standards. One of the programs affected by the shift to results-oriented management is the Continuum of Care Homeless Assistance Program funded through the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The goal of this program is to promote stable housing and maximize self-sufficiency for all homeless persons by developing organized service delivery systems designed at the community level. However, as part of federal restructuring, the planning and decision-making authority of homeless care continuums was dramatically altered leading to reduced opportunities to fund programs based on local needs. This case study examines the impact of changes in HUD management practices on homeless care continuums in the Western New York area. Drawing heavily on the new institutionalist perspective, I investigate how changes in organizational fields led organizations to re-construct their activities in light of federal mandates in order to survive. I argue that changes in federal policies represent "exogenous shocks" which force new institutional and technical demands on organizations. HUD, as an agent of the state, exercised its power in an attempt to force providers to modify their behaviors and institutional norms. However, these shocks were felt differently for homeless continuum coordinators and providers serving homeless subpopulations including families, persons abusing substances, and individuals who are mentally ill. Organizations varied in their ability and willingness to fully subscribe to HUD priorities. Conflicts in beliefs led some organizational actors to behave in ways that were antithetical to their missions and values. As a result, communities faced greater difficulties meeting the needs of their homeless populations particularly those who are deemed "difficult-to-serve."