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Mayor Schell’s Homeless Policy Reengineering Case Study

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Updated: Jul 24th, 2020

Introduction

The United States faces various issues. Some of them include economic crisis and unemployment. As a result, homelessness has risen over the years. The city leaders have developed different resolutions to the problem. The politicians also use this issue as their campaign platform. On June 2nd, 1998, Mayor Paul Schell addressed the public on the issue of homelessness. He asked the City Council to assist in availing emergency assistance to the homeless. This step was significant in providing a long lasting housing solution to the homeless people in the society. Mayor Schell noted that the issue had been persistent and it would be sensible to find better ways to help people to acquire affordable housing. In his closing comments, he promised to eliminate homeless families from Seattle streets by Christmas 1998. Considering the case study of “Mayor Schell’s Zero Homeless Family Strategy”, this essay will analyze the four policies that Mayor Schell organized a section of his preparation to the homeless, examine the pre-implementation, design plans of Mayor Schell, and examine four realistic results of his choices. The paper will also highlight the steps taken by Mayor Schell to redesign the program in order to fit the fresh goals. Finally, the paper will study four reasons for the importance of conducting assessments before new program implementation (Norton & Weeks, 2006).

Analyze four (4) policy choices of Mayor Schell that were made as part of the strategy for the homeless

The King County Community Homelessness Advisory Committee developed strategies that could be used to reduce the level of homelessness in Seattle. The first strategy that the committee advocated was that the city could offer maintenance services to the existing housing structures while their size remained constant. The Committee created this strategy because they wanted additional funds to be used on other development missions and housing. This strategy is expected to improve the condition of current housing conditions. However, it will not reduce the level of homeless people. This strategy cannot accomplish the Mayor’s pledge to remove all the single women and homeless people from the streets (Norton & Weeks, 2006).

The second strategy was to advise the community to focus on housing and services that assist people to regain their long-term stability. This would help to reduce homelessness in the long-term. For example, this policy would create transitional housing, employment services and assist the homeless to successfully move to permanent housing (Norton & Weeks, 2006).

The third strategy that the community developed was to advocate for follow clients to continuously provide care to the homeless. This meant the homeless people needed assistance as they entered permanent housing environment. This would help the homeless to feel that they belonged to the society and they would not want to return back to the streets (Norton & Weeks, 2006).

The fourth and last strategy was to direct resources towards the homeless sub-groups that were underserved relative to others. Examples of the sub-groups are single men that are leaving institutional facilities and children in homeless families (Norton & Weeks, 2006).

Analyze the Pre-Implementation and Design Strategies of Mayor Schell and interpret four (4) practical outcomes of his choices.

Mayor Paul Schell adopted several pre-implementation and design strategies aimed at executing the homeless family plan. First, he introduced property tax increases or the housing levy. This was one of the policies used by the citizens of Seattle to support the homeless families. Through this strategy, $50 million was raised in 1981 and 1986. As a result, in 1980, Seattle received various awards such as the National Alliance to End Homelessness Public sector Achievement. Mayor Norm Rice tried to introduce this policy in King County. However, the county’s residents rejected it in 1992. The housing levy is expected to create 1,360 more affordable housing units (Norton & Weeks, 2006).

The second strategy that the mayor used was funding. There are numerous funders such as the federal government, the private and the public sectors. The amount of money contributed by these funders exceeds $6 million. It is from this funding that Seattle has managed to allocate $8 million to operate housing units (Norton & Weeks, 2006).

The first applied result of his choices is that the number of people living in the streets will lessen. This is because homeless people will now have permanent shelters. Secondly, the residents that still require shelter will be able to share shelter with the homeless. Thirdly, when affordable housing becomes accessible or affordable, the homeless families will become motivated to go and look for means of acquiring their own housing. Lastly, through Mayor Schell’s strategy, it is possible to differentiate the needy from the less needy. Therefore, the mayor can know where and to whom he should allocate the homeless shelters given that these services deserve the most-needy people (Norton & Weeks, 2006).

Reconstruct four (4) steps taken by Mayor Schell to reengineer the program in order to fit the new objectives

Mayor Schell undertook various steps in order to reengineer the program to fit the new objectives. First, he sourced for funding. This came from the public and the private sectors as well as the city and the county councils. Through this, the community continued to reduce the level of homeless families in the streets of Seattle. As a result, Seattle received numerous awards in recognition of their contribution towards community development. Mayor Schell also made a pledge to remove homeless families from the streets. This was a stepping stone and a guide towards achieving the objective. The mayor also advised the community to focus on housing and services that assist homeless people to regain their long-term stability. This would help to reduce homelessness in the long-term. For example, when the homeless feel accepted by the new community residents they become settled and satisfied with their new environment. Mayor Schell also targeted the most affected groups in the society such as single men that are leaving institutional facilities and children in homeless families. Through this he ensured that all sectors of the program were moving at par (Norton & Weeks, 2006).

Analyze four (4) reasons for the importance of conducting assessments prior to new program implementation.

It is important to conduct assessments prior to new program implementation because it helps to know ‘what works’ and ‘what does not work’. For example, it helps to know whether the participants or the affected parties benefit from the program services or not. When assessment was conducted in Seattle, it helped to know the most affected persons and to determine the benefit that the homeless would obtain from the affordable housing program (Braverman, Franz & Rennekamp, 2012).

Assessment also helps to determine the effectiveness of the program to the community and funders. Through the assessment the community and funders can tell whether the homeless eradication program is worthwhile. It also motivates them to continue contributing towards the program because they experience the benefit of having less people in the streets (Eccles & Roeser, 2011).

Assessment prior to program evaluation is also important because it helps to increase the level of a program’s capacity to do self-assessment and to plan for the future. For example, through assessment Mayor Schell’s program could be able to determine financial and construction needs in order to tell whether all the requirements and objectives are met. This helps to strengthen the program’s operations and to improve the outcomes (Jacob, 2008).

Assessments also help to improve the relationship between the funders, the other participants and the affected parties. For example, Seattle residents are expected to welcome the homeless to the society. Through program assessment, it is possible to create a bond between the residents and the homeless (Jacob, 2008).

Conclusion

Mayor Paul Schell undertook a major step to reduce the level of homelessness in the streets of Seattle. He did this through the help of the King County Community Homelessness Advisory Committee. The committee helped to strategize means of reducing the level of homelessness in Seattle. For example, the city could offer maintenance services to the existing housing structures while their size remained constant. The community was also advised Seattle residents to focus on housing and services that assist homeless people to regain their long-term stability. Community resources were also directed towards the homeless sub-groups that were underserved relative to others. Mayor Schell used four steps to redesign the system in order to fit the fresh goals. He also employed pre-implementation and design strategies such as funding in order to achieve his objective. It is important to conduct assessments prior to new program implementation as it helps to analyze the worthiness of a project.

References

Braverman, M.T., Franz, N.K. & Rennekamp, R.A. (2012). Extension’s Evolving Alignment of Programs Serving Families and Youth: Organizational Change and Its Implications. Journal of Extension, 50(60), 1-10

Eccles, J.S., & Roeser, R.W. (2011). School and community influences on human development. In Bornstein, M.H., & Lamb, M.E. (Eds.), Developmental Science: An advanced textbook (6th ed., pp. 571-644). NY: Psychology Press.

Jacob, S. (2008). Cross-disciplinarization: A new talisman for evaluation? American Journal of Evaluation, 29(2), 175-194.

Norton, E. & Weeks, T. (2006). Mayor Schell’s Zero Homeless Family Pledge. The Electronic Hallway, 1(1), 1-7.

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