Transcript of "Refocusing community development taking housing out krh-1"
TAKING HOUSING OUT
Kayla R. Hogan
B.A. National-Louis University, 1993
M.S., Chicago State University, 1997
Submitted as partial fulfillment for the requirements
For the degree of Masters in Urban Planning and Policy
in the Graduate College of the
University of Illinois at Chicago, 2004
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PAPER GOALS •.....••...•.....•.•..••••.•.......•..••••••.•••.•.......•.•.•••..•.••..••.•...••.••...•.....••...•.••..•..••..•••.......•.••..•.•••••..•....•...•.
HISTORY OF CDCS •.•.••••••..•••••..••.•...•••••.••..•.••.•••••••••••..••••••••.•••••••••.•••.•.••....••••.•.•.•...•.•.•.••••..•••••.•.•••••••....•••.••••••
FIGURE.l COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT VERSUS GOVERNMENT POLICY SINCE 1930
THE CURRENT BASE OF ~NOWLEDGE •••.•.••.•....••.....•.•••••.•••.•••.•••.•.••...•...•••..•.•....•••...•.•...•.•...•.•••.•....•.•..•.••..
MEASURING SOCIAL, ECONOMIC, AND POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS OF CDCs: QUANTITATIVE
LIMITATIONS OF CDC EVALUATION
CURRENT PERSPECTIVES ON THE TRADITIONAL CDC MODEL •.•.•..••.........•..................••......•..•.•....•15
TI-IE TRADITIONAL CDC MODEL
CHANGING THE TRADITIONAL CDC MODEL AND IMPROVING EV ALUA TION METHODS OF
RESPONDING TO HOMELESSNESS IN CmCAGO IN THE 1980s
IC-IHDC INTERFAITH PARTNERSHIP SUMMARY
FIGURE.2. IC-IHDC DEVELOPMENT PA TH
FIGURE.3 IC-llIDC CROSS-SECTIONAL FLOWCHART
THE IC AND IHDC NETWORK
DISCUSSION: COMPARING THE TRADITIONAL CDC MODEL TO THE MULTI-LOCAL CDC MODEL 33
FIGURE 4. COMPARISON OF TRADITIONAL AND NON- TRADITIONAL CDCs
CONCLUSIONS •.•...•.••• •.•.•.•.•••
Community development corporations (CDCs) are unique organizations that sponsor a
wide range of activities in order to address social problems and account for the collective
concerns of many stakeholders. Changes in federal public policies stimulated the evolution of
community-based initiatives that led to the CDC movement, Over the past thirty years, CDCs
have emerged as strong community leaders despite tremendous risk of failure in volatile political
environments. CDCs adapt to new organizational roles, identify additional partners and
stakeholders, seek to rectify urban problems, and respond to conflicting demands. A daunting
challenge persists to discover ways to improve methods that promote and support efforts to
facilitate community development activities and ameliorate poverty in urban cities. The
Interfaith Housing Development Corporation (IHDC) plays an instrumental role in community
development in Chicago. Its mission and goals represent adaptations to the traditional CDC
model. A non-profit developer of supportive housing, IHDC provides housing for the homeless
or those at-risk ofhomelessness, low-income, chronically and mentally ill individuals. Through
collaboration, networking, and strategic planning, the organization has been able to produce a lot
of affordable, supportive housing throughout the ~ity of Chicago in a short amount of time.
Keywords: community development corporations; poverty and blight; very low income
The origins of community-based initiatives began in the Progressive Era in response to
urban problems (Fisher, 1997). Historical accounts in the literature on community organizing
and social welfare illustrate changes in federal public policy that stimulated evolution in
community-based initiatives. A review of this literature reveals relationships between diverse
efforts such as the settlement house movement and the community development corporation
(CDC) movement (Halpern, 1994). In response to changes in the social, political, and economic
environments, each generation of community-based initiatives modified previous strategies (see
Fisher, 1997; Trattner, 1999). The historical context in which CDCs exist provides a basis for
exploring the past and present state of these complex human service organizations (HSOs).
Despite their extensive history and tradition in urban communities throughout the U.S.,
many question their contribution to revitalization and the amelioration of blight and poverty (i.e.,
individuals with incomes below the median poverty level). The purpose of this research project
is to address the ongoing discourse about CDCs by examining the following research questions:
1) What is the "traditional" CDC model? What led to its development?
What are the
characteristic similarities and differences of the traditional CDC model and nontraditional adaptations, and what are the limitations of each approach to revitalization,
blight, and poverty?
2) What are the contextual and organizational factors that precipitated the current
perspectives of CDCs?
3) In what ways can evaluation methods be improved in order to expand and improve the
contribution of complex HSOs in the amelioration of blight and poverty in the urban
This paper reviews the strengths and weaknesses of the traditional CDC model and
explores in depth one adaptation to the traditional model. Specifically, it examines a new nontraditional approach to the social problem of homelessness and poverty used by the Interfaith
Housing Development Corporation (IHDC), a private, not-for-profit, project-based organization.
Through an exploration ofIHDC's
characteristic similarities and differences to the traditional
CDC model, this paper illustrates a non-traditional approach to community development.
This case study ofIHDC aims to provide insight into the adaptation process through
analysis of the organizational structure, specific goals, and outcomes. Finally, this paper will
lend itself to the advancement of knowledge by proposing to refocus the current goal of research
from how to achieve outcomes (e.g., political and capital capacity) to an alternate perspective
that emphasizes improving methods that examine external environments (e.g., socioeconomic
conditions and public policies).
This research project focused on issues related to the contribution of CDCs in urban
To achieve this objective, the literature on the history of community organizing,
community development, social policy, and evaluation research was reviewed. A case study
approach was used to document the organization. This included a review of archival
information, annual reports, marketing materials, and interview data in order to glean more about
. the organizational structure, role, and function.
Site visits were conducted to observe the culture and physical environment of the
Key actors within the organization were interviewed between January 23 and
March 2, 2004 to learn about the organizational structure, visions, objectives, and other specifics.
HISTORY OF CDCS
CDCs emerged as private non-profit entities organized to assume leadership roles in U.S.
cities. The presence of CDCs emanated from a long tradition of community-based initiatives,
beginning with the settlement house movement and including community-based organizations,
Community Action, Model Cities, and the War on Poverty (Fisher, 1997). Each new
community-based initiative sought to remediate social problems stemming from capitalism,
poverty, disinvestment, poor sanitation, and crime.
The period after World War II, represent an era in which there was significant focus on
alleviating poverty in inner-city communities.
From 1930 to 1960, community-based initiatives
played a prominent role in the political arena; efforts focused on local reform were due to the
disbelief in the ability of these federal programs (e.g., New Deal in 1930s and Urban Renewal in
1950) to adequately address the problems within the social, political, and economic
In 1950, when social welfare community work was better equipped than
organizations to deal with the political realities of the times, community
organizing suffered and community development went abroad (see Fisher, 1994; Trattner, 1994).
In order to keep social unrest and disorder at bay, foundations, and other non-governmental
organizations cultivated models for federal programs, and in 1961, an approach known as
community action agencies (Fisher, 1994) took hold. During this time, there were divergent
perspectives on public versus private care for the needs of the nations' poor. Some held to the
belief that care for the poor should be a matter of public responsibility while others believed that
care should come from the private sector (see Trattner, 1994). Community-organizations
The transformation of community-based initiatives from the goal of promoting federal
government reform to that of generating a local economy through community economic
development followed (Fisher, 1994). The Ford Foundation and others established a major
philanthropic presence in community-based economic development, first lobbying for
Congressional funding and providing direct support for major CDCs in the late 1960' s, and later
moving to create intermediaries to provide technical support in the 1970's (O'Conner, 1996).
Prompted by changes in federal policies, a new community economic development effort
launched the first generation CDC movement (Fisher, 1994).
The CDC movement began in 1966 when Senator Robert Kennedy of New York toured
a New York community that is now a combination of two old Brooklyn
communities in Bedford and Stuyvesant Heights. The community, one of the largest in the five
boroughs, contained the largest African-American populations in New York City (see Fisher,
1994; Vidal, 1997). After touring this devastated community, Kennedy enlisted the support of
fellow Senator Jacob Javits to enact the Special Impact Amendment to the Economic
The Special Impact Program (SIP) was a federal program that provided funds for
economic development in communities battling problems associated with drug-dependency,
unemployment, and deterioration.
Under the SIP, one of the first known CDCs (see Bratt, 1989;
Vidal, 1992), Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation (BSRC or Bed-Stuy) formed to
produce jobs and economic development in blighted communities along with federal government
programs like Model Cities. Kennedy stated at the time that the program for Bedford-Stuyvesant
would, "combine the best of community action with private enterprise" (BSRC Website
Overview section, para. 1). He further stated that, "neither [community action nor private
enterprise] by itself is enough, but in their combination lies hope for the future" (Bedford
Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, http://v.rww.restorationplaza.onzlabout/
March 2004). The
SIP sparked the development of the CDC movement.
From 1966 to approximately 1970, less than 100 first generation CDCs were formed.
Most had a primary mission of job creation. This federally funded program established the first
generation CDCs, which represent the traditional
(see Stoecker, 1997). The second
generation CDCs began to form in 1970 due to protests over redlining and displacement caused
by federal programs (e.g., Model Cities) (Vidal, 1992). This new generation adapted to
environmental changes by developing new organizational structures designed to overcome the
fragmentation and other problems associated with government bureaucracies shifting their focus
from community economic development toward housing production (Pierce & Steinbach, 1990;
Vidal, 1992). Changes in the political tide effectively dismantled SIP; consequently, CDCs had
to adapt again.
By the mid 1970s, CDCs had garnered support from private philanthropy, support
groups, and other intermediaries (Vidal, 1992). External forces were at work again; in particular,
the reluctance of the public sector to commit funds to CDCs was due to of lack of productivity,
which was the direct result of inadequate program funding (Stoecker, 1997). Government and
other funders did not invest significant resources into CDC evaluation due to inconsistent
political pressure to do so and a lack of a centralized administrative accounting system to keep
track of their contribution to anti-poverty goals (O'Conner, 1995). A major item of contention
concerned the bureaucracies insistence that the funding for these purportedly community
controlled CDCs come from the community themselves; however, the impossibility of local
funding occurring was ignored (Stoecker, 1997). The battle over public versus private gained
momentum and consistency as government sought continued support of community development
External dictates forced CDCs to expand even further beyond their capacity with the
hope of receiving anything more than the meager set-asides written into the National Affordable
Housing Act of 1990 (Center for Community Change, 1991). Despite the changes in the external
environment, the number of CDCs grew from an initial 100 to over 2,000 (Vidal, 1997).
However, by 1980, government spending vacillated, and federal, state, and local bureaucracies
withdrew again from social welfare. By the 1990s, persistent poverty in urban communities
manifested itselfin very gross and unmistakable ways (see Wilson, 1987). The private sector
once again began to provide subsidies to emerging CDCs.
In the mid 1990's the federal government implemented programs designed to initiate
private investment (e.g., Empowerment ZoneslEnterprise Community-EZIEC
sought to regenerate political support for large-scale revitalization, not just improvements for
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particular communities (Halpern, 1995). This radically altered the administration of community
development prowams (Trattner, 1999), and CDCs had to change positions again. Compared to
the billions of dollars leveraged in tax-breaks for the major corporations to participate in the
EZIEC programs, CDCs received meager funding to respond to the problems in the community
that antipoverty analysts argued was most useful for maintaining social order (Stoecker, 1997).
Despite reductions in direct federal support for housing development, including public housing,
this period marks the beginning of CDCs insurgence into the affordable housing industry (Bratt,
1989; Vidal, 1997). Recent trends in government funding, in particular, the creation of the LowIncome Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), combined with expanded efforts of philanthropies and
national intermediary group, suggest that CDCs will continue to be central players in the
affordable housing industry (pierce and Steinbach, 1987). As previously indicated, this
historical review is an effort to provide a contextual basis for analyzing the conditions under
which traditional CDC models have grown and to inform the discussion about current issues
related to the contributions CDCs make in urban communities in U.S. The next section
examines this same history but in terms of knowledge generated about community development.
FIGURE.1 COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
VERSUS GOVERNMENT POLICY SINCE 1930
and Liberal Reform
War on Poverty
CDCs break into the
from 100to 2000+
THE CURRENT BASE OF KNOWLEDGE
The first three decades after World War
important changes in the role and
production of knowledge related to comprehensive community-based initiatives (e.g., social
welfare policy, evaluation research, and CDCs) (see Fisher, 1994; O'Conner, 1995; Trattner,
1999). Changes in the social, political, and economic environments contextualize the changes in
federal public policy, the evolution of community-based initiatives, and evaluation research. The
first social change aided the progress of community-based initiatives, and guided the formation
of new and improved implementation methods; the uncompromising attitudes from previous
government administrations met with bold social experimentation beginning in the mid 1930's
(see Trattner, 1994). The second change, the Depression and the New Deal (late 1930's to
1940' s), was a political shift that stimulated the development of community spin-offs (Fisher,
1994). The final change, the introduction of a new federal planning and budget system, affected
the economic environment. In the late 1950s and up to 1960, the Johnson administration
mandated the Planning-Programming-Budgeting
System (PPBS) in all executive branch
agencies. Community-based initiatives in the post World War II era were deeply affected by
federal public policy and the new political environment. Federal public policy ripened for the
widespread use of experimental, outcomes-oriented research often associated with scientific
evaluation (O'Conner, 1995). These changes gave evaluation research a prominent position in
shaping community-based initiatives.
Today, academic scholars, analysts, practitioners, and stakeholders are in disagreement
about the actual contributions of community-based initiatives. Numerous studies exist that
define, analyze, and advise CDCs, but a consensus about the role, function, and contribution of
these organizations is elusive. The National Congress for Community Economic Development
(NCCED), which has been tracking CDCs since 1988, defines CDCs according to their mission
statement, role, and function in urban communities; however, the NCCED does not differentiate
the activities of these organizations.
One group that recognizes problems with evaluation research and community-based
initiatives is the Aspen Institutes Roundtable Discussion on Comprehensive Community
Initiatives for Children and Families (Connell, Kubisch, Schorr, and Weiss, 1995). One
contributor to a volume of papers presented by this group took a chronological perspective to
review and analyze the important historical underpinnings that influenced the development of
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evaluation research and the CDC movement.
O'Conner (1995) found that political and
institutional barriers have hampered effective evaluation, that CDCs face persistent dilemmas,
and that scientific evaluation has played a relatively limited role in determining the fate of these
Barriers to effectively evaluating comprehensive community-based initiatives
relate to the "contextual analysis" required to understand the impact of CDCs (O'Conner, 1995).
Gittell and Wilder (1999) concurred, asserting the importance of considering contextual factors
directly influenced by the external interaction between and among economic, social, and political
MEASURING SOCIAL, ECONOMIC, AND POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS
CDCs have expanded on multiple dimensions, going "beyond the traditional focus on
housing and business development into human services, community empowerment, and building
social capital" (Rohe, 1998; Stoecker, 1997; Temkin & Rohe, 1998). "Unlike for-profit
organizations, however, there is no single bottom-line measure against which organizational
performance may be evaluated."
(Drucker, 1990) CDCs work in tandem with other community
leaders, private foundations and other stakeholders to create positive change (see Bratt, 1989;
1996; Vidal, 1997). In many U.S. cities, they are the most productive developers of affordable
housing for low-income residents (Vidal, 1992). The National Congress for Community
Economic Development (NCCED) estimated in 1991 that CDCs had created 320,000 units of
housing (Vidal, 1992) and in 1995 NCCED added another 80,000 units. "CDCs do better than
local housing authorities at providing housing (Stoecker, 1997), "but it is a drop in an ocean of
need" (Twelvetrees, 1989, p.155).
The current base of knowledge about CDCs emphasizes measuring success based on
outcomes, which Gittell and Wilder (1999) and Twelvetrees (1996) both believe fails to account
for the difference between the success of the organization and the success of the resident
population it serves. Several studies conducted over time to assess CDC performance and
effectiveness in reducing urban blight and poverty reveal compelling evidence that supports the
claim for improving evaluation measures and methods.
After WWII, quantitative outcomes research increased as researchers adapted the
methods of controlled experimental design developed over several decades, and applied in
engineering, psychology, and educational research (Campbell and Stanley, 1966). This
experimental approach favored a laboratory setting in order to establish the cause and effect of
particular interventions with some degree of statistical validity. "The absence of ideal laboratory
conditions wherein researchers could manipulate most of the variables, evaluations of human
interventions became an exercise in control; controlling for contextual factors or natural
processes not directly tied to the intervention in an effort to avoid bias" (O'Conner, 1995, p.31).
Foundations and federal funding agencies generated a quantitative research industry and used
CDC evaluations for political purposes to justify continued support for community development
programs. However, early evidence suggests that this was problematic.
For example, Abt Associates (1973) conducted a study of SIP in the early 1970's using
statistical measures and concluded, ''while the SIP legislation stipulates "appreciable impact" as
the overall goal of the Program, it fails to provide criteria for the "appreciability" of observed
CDC impacts"(Abt Associates, 1973, p.9). Consequently, the decision whether a given CDC is
capable of achieving appreciable impact (justifying continued support) is based on the subjective
judgments of the individual observer (Abt Associates, 1973).
The next generation of CDC studies was designed to begin to fill in the gaps in
knowledge about community development-particularly,
about CDCs as community stabilizers.
These studies "[added] to a thoughtful and growing, but still limited, literature on how to design
and measure community building or comprehensive community change initiatives" (Connell et
al., 1995). These studies counter the widespread outcome-oriented evaluations of the past.
Briggs, Mueller, and Sullivan (1997) write most studies have focused on challenges to, and
successes in, housing development and management
Claims about social effects have been
largely rhetorical, and based on anecdotal evidence about quantifiable CDC success in particular
contexts (pierce and Steinbach 1987). Based largely on program records, interviews with CDC
staff and funders, and CDC self-reports, previous research has informed us about what CDCs
produce, not how residents and communities benefit (Briggs et al, 1997).
The Community Development Research Center of the New School for Social Research
issued two reports on a major effort to understand the social effects of CDCs on urban
These studies took place in two phases and utilized a mixed methods approach.
The first report, "More Than Housing: How CDCs Go about Changing Lives and Neighborhoods
(Sullivan, 1993) examined the practices through which twelve leading CDCs were attempting to
revitalize the physical and social fabric of their target areas" (Briggs et. al.1997). While the
twelve CDCs featured in the Phase I report varied widely in their specific programs, as well as
their untested theories (i.e., theories without empirical data) about how to change their
neighborhoods, the findings revealed that successful CDCs shared certain characteristics.
Specifically, they all realized that in order for housing programs to remain viable, they had to
pursue revitalization activities beyond housing (i.e., property management, organizing, social
services, advocacy) (Briggs et. al, 1997).
The second phase focused on measuring the contributions of CDC outcomes on three.
dimensions (housing satisfaction, neighborhood safety, and community building), and key
findings revealed four themes. The first two themes related to strategies and resources. There
was virtually no variation in these strategies and resources, but the external context was
significant across the board. The third and fourth theme related to community building and
The third theme was more specific than the first two and reflected struggles
to change and enhance citizenship among community residents and groups, despite persistent
barriers to community building that included crime, isolation due to joblessness, and resident
A major distinction was that CDC residents viewed their housing as a "move up"
among members of the comparison group (Briggs, et. al, 1997).
Another study utilized a broad operational definition to relate success directly to the
CDCs' contribution to the well being of its constituents (target population) (Gittell and Wilder,
1999). These researchers attempted to capture the range of CDC experiences and outcomes and
called for contextual analysis in identifying success. The study found four key factors that
influenced CDC success: mission, political capital, organizational capacity, and funding (Gittell
and Wilder, 1999). The researchers concluded by noting the importance of considering the direct
influence of conditions that exist within the local context on the key factors identified. In each of
the case studies, the local economic, social, and political climate had a direct impact on the form
and effectiveness of CDC initiatives (Gittell and Wilder, 1999).
Numerous analysts, including CDC advocates, continue to search for evidence that CDCs
have enough impact to reverse neighborhood decline or that the development they produce
would not have happened anyway (Stoecker, 1997). The lack of evidence does not indicate that
CDCs have not made an impact, but rather, that the art or science of measuring the impact of
CDC outcomes is in its infancy stage (Bratt, 1997). The strongest significance of these studies
lies within their conclusions and recommendations.
Each one identified the merits of traditional
CDCs as a viable strategy for community revitalization, the amelioration of blight, and poverty.
There also were strong similarities in findings on the influence of social, economic, and political
contexts. However, none of the studies addresses the issue of why these similarities exist.
LIMIT ATIONS OF CDC EVALUATION
While researchers and practitioners from various disciplines have all weighed in to define
and advise CDCs, the current base of knowledge is incomplete. Despite a long tradition and a
multitude of studies, the impact of CDCs contribution to alleviating blight, poverty and other
urban problems remains elusive. Various disciplines and many stakeholders have developed
multiple definitions of CDCs; yet, no one has reached a consensus about how to measure the role
and function of these organizations.
The absence of a formal defmition has implications for
CDCs and evaluation of their work. It is difficult if not impossible to measure undefined
variables, which is why researchers often have had to rely on factors that are easy to quantify.
CDCs have a long tradition, as indicated throughout the research literature. Methods and
measures to evaluate organizational outcomes must consider the intimate connection between
processes and outcomes. A recent trend in social scientific research counters the use of the
large-scale experimental design approach of the past. Problems with CDC evaluations may be
attributed to methodological constraints related to quantifying outcomes, wide variability in CDC
efforts, changes in external environments (e.g., social economic, and political), and other factors.
Inherent environmental changes exacerbate CDCs risk for not just failure, but also extinction
(Hasenfeld, 1992). Changes in external environments are only part of the problem with CDC
evaluations. Additional case studies are needed on CDCs that have failed, downsized, and
merged so that factors contributing to these changes can be assessed and generalized to other
relevant factors (Bratt and Rohe, 2003). Without studies that focus on why CDCs succeed or
fail, the contribution of CDCs in urban communities will remain unclear.
In addition to exploring how these organizations fare under varying social, economic, and
political circumstances, evaluation research should also focus on "contextual analysis" of these
factors (O'Conner, p.53). CDC studies are lacking comprehensive analyses that carefully track
and detail evidence of the ways in which strings attached to outside funding restricts,
undermines, and impedes CDC performance, goals, and objectives and overall contribution in
CURRENT PERSPECTIVES ON THE TRADITIONAL CDC MODEL
THE TRADITIONAL CDC MODEL
Since the emergence of the CDC movement, the role and activities of the traditional
model has changed and expanded (Vidal, 1992). According to a national census of CDCs
conducted by National Congress for Community Economic Development (http://www.ncced.org/
March 2004), there is an estimated 3,600 CDCs across the United States. A CDC is a type of
not-for-profit entity; it is similar to any other not-for-profit entity organized under state law and
holds a federal tax exemption (section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code), which enables
the entity to organize and be recognized as a CDC. According to the NCCED, there is no legal
definition for CDCs. These organizations define themselves by their mission statement,
community-based leadership efforts, and work on housing production or job creation.
Traditionally, residents, small business owners, congregations and other local
stakeholders form CDCs to revitalize a low and/or moderate-income community (according to
the definition given by the NCCED).
Typically, these organizations function as producers of
affordable housing and create jobs for community residents. CDCs create employment
opportunities through micro business enterprises (e.g., micro lending) or commercial
development projects. For example, BSRC provides financial assistance through the Restoration
Capital Fund (RCF). Founded in 1998 to provide financial assistance and business development
services to under-served communities in Brooklyn, New York, RCF is a certified Community
Development Financial Institution (CDFI), and a subsidiary of BSRC (Bedford Stuyvesant
Restoration Corporation Website, http://www.restorationpJaza.ondabout/March2004).In
addition, many CDCs provide a variety of social services tailored to the needs of their target
population. For example, at Bethel New Life, community organizing is a key element of the
The Community Building division of the organization, created in 2001, provides
social services related to helping residents with home ownership, school reform, advocacy, and
There is ongoing speculation among CDCs, advocates, social scientists, and researchers
about the appropriate role, purpose, and impact ofCDCs (see Stoecker, 1997, Bratt, 1989). The
positions held by proponents who weigh in on the discussion about CDCs argue for strategic
changes to the traditional CDC model. However, contenders argue for changes in public policy
and hold to the belief that greater public support for physical development in urban communities
and a "revamped and rejuvenated" public housing program provides a sounder solution. Both of
these perspectives highlight crucial questions but neither considers the potential of evaluation
research to answer the question that is the impetus for the debate: whether the impact ofCnes'
contribution is enough to revitalize and ameliorate blight and poverty in urban communities
There are several adaptations to the CDC model, which vary significantly from
organization to organization (Gittell and Wilder, 1999). Non-traditional approaches to
community development (e.g., non-local housing development and mergers) make adaptations to
the traditional CDC model. According to Stoecker (1997), community organizations might
function more efficiently and increase capacity if they utilized a different approach. He proposes
K, Hogan 17
to first disentangle the acronym-laden fog of organizational definitions and labels (i.e., CDCs
(Community Development Corporations), CBOs (Community- Based Organizations), CBDOs
Development Organizations), etc. which only serve to confuse the
distinction between community organizing, advocacy and community development.
recommends reserving the name "CDC" for those organizations that build buildings,
"community organizer" or "advocacy group" should be assigned to those that build community
power. He suggests the mergers of "multi-local CDCs" to increase capacity and calls for
removing the community-based myth because he contends "individual communities no longer
need nor should they wan, their own CDC" (Stoecker, 1997, p.19). CDCs should combine
collective talent to produce physical redevelopment that exceeds community deterioration.
Stoecker (1997) criticizes the traditional CDC model and proposes an alternative model
of urban redevelopment that emphasizes community organizing, community-based planning, and
high capacity multi-local CDCs (e.g., organizations that increase capacity through partnerships
with other groups to expand their jurisdiction to multiple locations) to increase accountability
through a strong community organizing process. Stoecker (1997) asserts that CDCs playa
crucial role in the production of affordable housing. However, he contends that absent is a
theoretical understanding of the ways in which CDCs "interact" with the contradictions of
community and capitalism in America, and the political-economic forces that impinge on the
CDC, potentially hindering its effectiveness (Stoecker, 1994, p.3). According to Stoecker, the
CDC model should change; his model calls for compartmentalizing the CDCs' role (e.g., housing
development organization) and function (e.g., housing production and organizing/advocacy).
Lenz (1988) cites free-market assumptions about urban problems. "Given their
organizing roots, why have [CDCs] not responded more aggressively to the economic and social
K, Rogan 1~
decline of their communities in the 1980s? Are [CDC] leader's corrupt sell-outs, or the
stereotypical poverty pimps portrayed by the new right?" (Lenz, 1988, p.25) His reply to the
last question is "for the most part no" (Lenz, 1988, p.25). "Professionals [CDC advocates and
practitioners] are good people with bad theory; rather in the absence of theory on the steady
decline of the political economy in communities they adopt the free market wisdom of economic
decline and rebirth" (Lenz, 1988, p.25). This perspective provides evidence of the need for
improved evaluation methods.
Rachel Bratt (1997) suggests that Stoecker's (1997) alternative diminishes the value of
the traditional CDC and compounds vulnerability, meaning observers tend to attribute ''weak
performance to systematic causes" (e.g. political, social, and economic). Bratt (1997) opposes
changes to the CDC model and advocates for policies that promote increased public support,
placing responsibility for addressing serious problems in low-income communities on federal
and state policies and suggests demanding an increase in public resources for CDCs. "The
problem is at least minimally due to the. conflicts and contradictions facing CDCs. The real
locus of responsibility rests with a public sector that is reluctant to regulate the private for-profit
enterprises that wreak havoc on low-income communities and spend as little as possible on
programs for the poor" (1997, p.27). This perspective also provides additional support for the
claim that improvements in evaluation methods and measures will enhance knowledge about the
contribution of CDCs.
CHANGING THE TRADITIONAL CDC MODEL AND IMPROVING EVALUATION METHODS
OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
The problems that permeate the traditional CDC model are no more challenging than the
problems in any other complex HSOs fighting the battle against poverty and capitalism. Every
HSO struggles with the "contradictions of urban capitalism" and the "political economic forces"
that hinder effectiveness (Stoecker, 1997, p.3). These organizations reflect the altruistic nature of
society and are manifestations of societal obligations to the social welfare and well being of its
cizitens. However, they are also a product of the American economic system that thrives on
capitalism and are seen by some as wasteful, fostering dependence, obtrusive and controlling
(Hasenfeld, 1992). "To understand these questions, we must look at [the] urban political
economy and how the CDC model of urban redevelopment interacts with it" (Stoecker, 1997,
p.3). Problems mayor may not justify changing the traditional CDC model. Bratt (1'997)
indicates that due to a new generation of "comprehensive community initiatives" funded by
private foundations, a number of organizations are already following the non-traditional model
that Stoecker (1997) recommends.
However, evaluation research does not neccesarily reflect
these changes. The benefit of adopting Stoecker's (1997) alternative is that it calls for a
distinction between role and function, which will provide operationalized definitions and account
for the dimensions that would likely be added from such a change (e.g., property management,
social services). These dinstinctions and subsequent operational definitions would likely lead to
improvements in measurement to evaluate CDC performance.
The current perspective held by research scholars about traditional CDC models and
public policies that support them is more prescriptive than instructive. The question remains
unanswered as to whether CDCs have a significant effect on ameliorating urban blight and
poverty in urban communities.
Many of the problems in the community and in anti-poverty
efforts are local in origin, but many others originate outside the community, city, or state (Lenz,
1980). Lenz (1980) suggests well-organized groups contribute to the political process. They can
make that contribution by confronting the problems with traditional evaluation methods and
developing improved measures that account for the details of political involvement.
perspective on the traditional CDC model is not the answer. Change is necessary and has
historically been a prerequisite to the advancement of trends in community development
Nicholas Lemann's (1994) highly controversial article initiated the ongoing discourse
regarding the contribution of traditional CDC models. However, it is extremely difficult to find
statistical evidence that attributes revitalization of any inner-city neighborhood to the work of
CDCs. Instead, we get many anecdotal revitalization success stories, such as the building of
"festival markets" like in South Street Seaport in New York, or [the] shoring up of an area that is
blue-collar rather than poor and residential rather than industrial, like in South Shore in Chicago
(Lemann, 1994). While such cases provide proof that revitalization of urban communities is
possible, they also support the claims made that improvements in evaluation research is needed.
Scholars, academic researchers and various stakeholders freely point out problems with
traditional CDC models. In order to gain a clearer perspective on the benefit and contribution of
CDCs, it is important to begin to seek evaluation methods that measure useful planning and
As stated in the Current Base of Knowledge and in the History of CDCs sections of this
paper, fluctuations and modifications to federal public policy and CDC programs stimulated
adaptations to traditional CDC models. Organizations began to customize their strategies to
make the transition into the affordable housing industry. The two timelines below illustrate
changes in government federal public policies and evolutions in community-based initiatives
from 1930 to 2000 (see Fisher, 1994; NCCED, 1995; Trattner, 1999; Vidal, 1992, 1997).
CDCs have an extensive thirty-year history, well documented in the literature as a viable
entity for change; and their ability to adapt to environmental fluctuations has always been the
impetus for those changes. Withoutstudies
that speak to the contributions CDCs make in
ameliorating poverty in the urban community, the possibility that analyses underestimate or
overestimate their potential is great. This may lead to government misappropriation and negative
impacts associated with their failure (Bratt and Rohe, 2003). CDCs have historically sustained
themselves in a turbulent "environment that renders them completely dependent and vulnerable
to challenges that threaten the authority and legitimacy of the organization and their very
existence" (Hasenfeld, 1992). However, the impact ofCDCs'
contribution then, or now, is up
for debate. Improved methods for evaluating CDC performance may lead to analysis of the
of community and capital. For example, evaluation focused on process can
identify the effects of constant changes in social, economic, and political environments as means
for analyzing the conditions under which these organizations can thrive and more effectively
achieve goals and objectives.
Problems with the traditional CDC model cannot be accounted for simply in terms of
changing the approach or federal public policy; rather, they must be seen as having complex
antecedents that range from internal struggles and responses to external pressure. The shared
traits between the traditional CDC model and its adaptations should be considered before
criticizing and reducing the problems associated with the model down to an easy
recommendation to expand capacity or federal public spending. Furthermore, we need to
understand better what characteristics unify the traditional CDC model and adaptations to this
approach. Traditional CDCs focused on community development in a single, low to moderateincome neighborhood with an emphasis on maintaining and strengthening indigenous networks
and organizations (Fisher, 1994). Stoecker (1997) suggests subtracting housing from the
community development equation. However, does this mean that housing developers are no
longer doing community develop~ent?
As these adaptations take place, new evaluation methods
are needed to better define and advise them. Efforts to improve methods of evaluating CDC
performance can provide a viable alternative to the current perspective if it also allows for a clear
analysis of current non-traditional models.
The following case study aims to improve our understanding of the characteristic
similarities and differences in the traditional CDC model and its adaptations, and to develop
better methods for evaluating the impact of "non-traditional" CDCs. The Interfaith Housing
Development Corporation (IHDC), incorporated in 1992, represents this new form of housingfocused non-local organization that Stoecker (1997) proposes and that Bratt (1997) notes are
already in existence. This organization is considered non-traditional because it does not serve a
specific location but rather its mission aims to help a specific under served population, namely
those who are homeless or at risk of homeless ness, by providing permanent affordable housing
for them in the city of Chicago. IHDC is also considered an "adaptation" to the traditional model
since it is a CDC that collaborates with other developers to produce housing that meets the needs
of their homeless client population. While IHDC has several other partners, this analysis focuses
on its relationship with the Interfaith Council for the Homeless (IC) since IHDC evolved in
response to the need for a developer who could produce housing for the homeless.
RESPONDING TO HOMELESSNESS
IN CHICAGO IN THE 19805
Despite substantial increases in spending on social programs from 1968 to 1980, the
poverty rate failed to decrease (Wilson, 1987), and the plight of the nations destitute, hungry, and
homeless citizens worsened (Trattner, 1994). In November 1984 at a national conference,
Catholic bishops presented "Economic Justice for All: A Pastoral Letter on Catholic Social
Thinking" and called poverty in America a "social and moral scandal that must not be ignored.
Works of charity cannot and should not have to substitute for humane federal public policy"
K, Hogan 23
(United States Catholic Conference, 1986, as cited by Trattner, 1994). Traditionally, care for the
homeless and others on the margins of society had come from private citizens, churches, and
During this time, the Interfaith Council for the Homeless (lC) formed, garnering support
from religious leaders helped to form a membership organization with a focus on homelessness
and related issues (Hasenfeld, 1992). Leaders in the religious community led the initial
membership; however, IC did not adopt a particular faith orientation or affiliation. According to
the Executive Director, (Personal interview, March 2,2004): "IC, the organization, nor any of its
affiliates espouse ,any one particular religious, creedal, philosophical, or theological
The most important impetus for membership and collaboration was and is a
concern and interest in homelessness and impacts of poverty." At that time, the organizational
goal centered on providing advocacy and referrals for homeless individuals.
From 1984 to approximately 1986, IC collaborated with religious congregations
throughout the city of Chicago to provide referral, advocacy, and support for the homeless.
Initially, the Chicago Department of Human Services (CDHS) contracted IC to provide service
linkages (i.e., no direct-services) between Warming Centers and homeless clients. The Warming
Center Program expanded into the largest emergency shelter program in Chicago. Even though
the program provided 1300 beds per night, the numbers of homeless individuals entering the
emergency shelter program increased and consequently so did the Warming Center Program.
At the height of the Warming Center Program, it provided 208,670 man-nights (annually)
of emergency shelter to 22,230 new (non-repeating) homeless men, women and children. In
response to the increasing numbers of men, women, and children entering the emergency shelter
system, three new transitional shelters opened to provide service exclusively for women and
children. The three new transitional facilities provided an additional 1,165 shelter beds and
served on average 2,080 meals per day. The housing shortage went unattended, and the
homeless population steadily increased. In 1989, the city contract for the Warming Center
Program went to another service provider.
Despite the response and substantial use of the Warming Center Program, the prevalence
of the citywide homeless problem and the absence of affordable housing was largely unaffected
by the insurgence of the emergency shelter program. The IC membership group adopted a
position taken by many social welfare scholars, acknowledging that the causes of social
problems of dependency, mental illness, and chronic diseases are just as important as treatments
(Trattner, 1994). In response, according to a member of the original membership group, an
assessment of the affordable housing situation in Chicago led the organization to assemble a
collaboration that would blend traditional and non-traditional approaches to community
"We brought in someone with a background in finance, the current IHDC
Executive Director who has an accounting background and business knowledge to coordinate
development finance" (Personal interview, February 24, 2004). Initially IC provided advocacy
and referral to the homeless population but lacked "a formal program to intervene in the cyclical
effects of poverty and homelessness" according to the board chairperson (Personal interview,
February 2, 2004). The interest was not in providing medical treatment of chronic disease or
illnesses because, as the board chairperson explained (Personal interview, February 24, 2004):
"you have a whole set of rules as a hospital [medical facility]." Instead, IC positioned itself as a
service connector, providing supportive social services that are difficult to administer to the
Since IC no longer had the fiscal contract from CDHS, they had to identify a new
organizational role. IC added an educational and advocacy program coordinator to the staff to
establish and facilitate a policy and practical agenda that addressed the systemic causes of
Already providing outreach, organizing, and advocacy, IC began identifying
additional partners to address the homeless problem. "Equipped with a building and a plan
written on paper," IC solicited input from colleagues in the health and human services sector to
develop policy and procedures for their first undertaking in the affordable, supportive housing .
industry. At that time, social services began to playa prominent role in the emergency shelter
programs. IC decided to switch its focus from service connector/facilitator to service provider.
For the next two and a half years, IC provided supportive social services (e.g., resource referral,
case management, crisis intervention, support groups, and meetings) inside emergency shelters.
IHDC incorporated in 1992 and that same year it collaborated with IC and other religious
community leaders to address the escalating needs of the homeless population. IHDC is a
partner in an interfaith conglomerate that proclaims to center all of its activities, programs, and
initiatives on social justice and homelessness.
IHDC is an independent Illinois not-for-profit
corporation with a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization designation from the Internal Revenue
Service. IHDC operates as a strategic planning subsidiary created to provide permanent housing
for very low-income individuals (i.e., individuals whose yearly income is less than half of the
official poverty line-
$7,412 for a family of three) or those with a particular preexisting
conditions that confine them to the margins of society (e.g. chronic or mental illness, and drug
Interfaith House was the first major undertaking of the two organizations.
House opened in 1994; its co-owners Interfaith House, Inc. operate the sixty-bed respite care
facility whose yearly count serves approximately eight-hundred homeless individuals discharged
from hospitals. Nearly 10 years later, IHDC opened Sanctuary Place, which provides housing
for women and families who are disabled and formerly homeless. Currently, IC maintains its
operation at Sanctuary Place. IC has two programs that operate simultaneously with very similar
functions: 1) intensive case management and supportive services for 63 female residents and 6
families at Sanctuary Place; and 2) intensive case management, referral, and advocacy for 20
families living independently in scattered site subsidized housing throughout the city of Chicago.
IC provides supportive social services for a total of 160-170 people.
In between these two developments, IHDC has produced other viable community
development projects and generated close to forty-million dollars in development capital:
Inner Voice Veterans House, opened in 1993, was the first. Co-owners Inner
V oice, Inc. operates the fifteen unit transitional housing facility that services
veterans who have completed chemical dependency programs. '
Interfaith House was the second development project, opened in 1994, was the
first collaboration between IC and IHDC. A sixty-bed respite care facility.
Vision House the third development, is a twenty-five unit multi-family supportive
housing structure that serves individuals and families affected by mV/AIDS.
In 1998, the fourth project, Cressey House was opened. Cressey House is owned
and operated by IImC's partner The Cathedral Shelter of Chicago and has
twenty-seven multi-family units for individuals and families recovering from
The fifth project completed in 1999, Ruth Shriman House is an eighty-two unit
low-income senior housing facility.
The Children's Place at Vision House, the sixth development project, started in
2002, is incomplete. Upon completion (scheduled for later this year), the facility
will provide an array of social services that include full-service day care, mental
health counseling, play therapy, and parental support for the parents and families
of Vision House.
Sanctuary Place is the seventh project and is a sixty-nine unit development that
has sixty-three efficiency apartments and six three-bedroom town homes for
formerly homeless women and children.
Casa Kirk Apartments is a partnership with Claretian Associates, and is a twentysix multi-unit complex that serves mixed-income (i.e., low-income and affordable
Independence House is currently still in construction and incomplete. This
facility will have twenty-five family units and will serve recovering parents and
In total, when these projects are completed, IHDC will have produced over three hundred units
of affordable housing throughout the city of Chicago in about 10 years - a significant number for
IC-IHDC INTERFAITH PARTNERSHIP SUMMARY
Today, IC and IHDC work in tandem with each other and additional faith-based
In combination, this collaboration represents the supportive housing model
mandated in the 10-year "Housing First" plan to end homelessness.
Each subsidiary has its own
501 (c) (3) with different roles and responsibilities and unique functions but all profess
commitment to homelessness and related concerns. This collaboration also establishes the
organization as a non-traditional adaptation to the traditional CDC model. Figure 2 summarizes
the history and evolution of the partnership, while Figure 3 shows the expansion oflHDC as a
housing producer since its inception in 1992, and provides a visual overview of organizational
capacity and dates and function of other collaborations and development projects.
IC-IHDC DEVELOPMENT PATH
The Interfaith Connctl Corthe
Homeless (IC) was organized
to work collaboratively within
the religious community of
The Warming Center Program
is inItiated a collaborative
effort with the city to fund
Education and advocacy
became an important part of
the the IC mission
The Interfaith Housing
(llIDC) is formed to provide
The first major collaboration
between IC and IHDC
Sanctuary Place collaboration
between IC and IHDC
FIGURE. 3 IC-IHDC CROSS-SECTIONAL
Council for the
Place at Vision
ANALYZING THE IC'AND IHDC NETWORK
The Interfaith Housing Development Corporation professes that the impetus for its work
is to collaborate with faith-based community groups and other community partners with a
concern and interest in homelessness and the impacts of poverty. The role of both Ie and IHDC
is indicative of their supplemental functions to one another. IC's overall plan has a diverse set of
objectives, and attempts to create a collective voice through policy and practice with a social
conscious. IC-IHDC participates in a city funded housing program that imparts ideals,
regulations and stipulations to which the organization attempts to comply. Strategic planning
enables IC-IHDC to transform the ideal of the mission into viable ventures and opportunities to
serve the homeless population throughout the city.
Each organization has a clearly defined function that illustrates the non-traditional
approach: 1) IC provides intensive case management, supportive services, advocacy, and
referral; and 2) IHDC provides housing development.
Together, they are community partners
that provide an array of resources that serve to promote the mission, goals and objectives of each
Collaboration with community partners coupled with the fact that neither IHDC
nor IC are bounded by a specific neighborhood, provides both increased mobility and latitude to
execute its mission of providing services for the homeless throughout the city of Chicago.
EXTERNAL PRESSURES ... INTERNAL STRUGGLES
External pressures exist and relate to the need for consistent donations and sponsors,
according to the IC's Executive Director, "[Ie] we are constantly soliciting religious
organizations for financial contributions and other resources" (Personal interview, March 2,
2004). The organization has a number of religious congregations that provide annual financial
support and donations. The organization has sixty annual contributors and thirty-five other
social service agencies in the network of service providers.
K, Hogan 31
The research literature focuses attention on the fact that CDCs manage to achieve goals
and visions while working against tremendous odds in constantly changing external
For example, the IC Executive Director acknowledged that IC "works on
systemic issues" (Personal interview, March 2, 2004). The organization attempts to "better the
service delivery" and "change the system that perpetuates homelessness."
Director indicated that IC strives to "spread the message" about homelessness-"I
Director] conduct seminars, speeches, and serve on the Chicago Continuum of Care executive
board, governing board and the implementation committee." Similarly, the goal ofIHDC aims
to produce models of quality, state-of-the-art housing for low-income people as a means to
demonstrate that affordable housing can be an asset to the community.
In 2002; the Mayor of Chicago approved a ten-year plan to end homelessness.
First" is the cities new model for homeless service delivery. The program philosophy mandates
housing and supportive social services in permanent residences, not in shelters. The Chicago
Department of Human Services (CDHS) commissioned IC as a supportive service model for the
"Housing First" pilot program. IC transformed into a "Housing First" service delivery model
and collaborated with other organizations throughout the city to locate rental subsidies and
Housing Choice Vouchers (i.e., Section 8) to establish a permanent residence for their homeless
clients. After securing a permanent residence, IC would then provide the supportive services.
CDHS administers the public contract, and IC receives a line item in their budget to provide
supportive services at Sanctuary Place and in scattered site subsidized housing throughout the
city. Initially, IC assisted in assessments for apartment readiness, transition to subsidized
housing, resource location (e.g., furniture, security deposits, etc). Now.the organization provides
services to Sanctuary Place, which is an example of the "Housing First" approach.
The change in the homeless service delivery system to "Housing First" is significant
because it led the collaboration between IC and IHDC. Both the affordable housing shortage and
the cyclical nature of homelessness served to motivate this collaboration. The new homeless
service delivery system supported the non-local development-centered
Collaboration with IC enabled IHDC to concentrate on its mission of providing affordable,
permanent housing. This systems-level change enabled IC to provide service to individuals in
their own home, not in shelters.
The Board of Directors ofIC and IHDC arekey actors bridging both organizations.
Board members and Directors makeup the IC-IHDC network that links social service, advocacy,
and education with affordable housing development to formulate a comprehensive program. As
IC's Executive Director stated, "Case managers are housing retainers and are expected [to help]
with any issue that is standing as a barrier for clients to move forward. One of the visions and
goals for the housing and supportive service model of the "Housing First" Program is community
assessment, housing retainers refer clients to the Mayor's Office on Workforce Development,
and other specialized, technical programs in the community" (Personal interview, March 2,
2004). On-site supportive services include addiction support groups and life enhancement
groups for clients.
The IC-IHDC collaboration is a non-traditional adaptation to the traditional CDC model
because it compartmentalizes the function of housing production and social services. The
current political environment supports this approach as it makes the organization less vulnerable
to changes in the external environment
In particular, the philosophy of the current political
environment is stated in the cities' housing policy, housing first, and social services in the home.
Economic changes can also have implications on CDCs and can cause external pressure. Ie and
IHDC are not a unified whole despite ~ome overlap in goals and objectives, so organizational
behavior may differ; yet collaboration requires cooperation and the ability of these two separate
units to work together and be mutually supportive of each other.
COMPARING THE TRADITIONAL CDC MODEL TO THE MULTI-LOCAL CDC
IHDC evidences elements of Stoecker's (1997) proposed alternative CDC modeL The
chief components that distinguish IHDC as a non-traditional adaptation to the CDC model are its
primary function (i.e., housing development) and its "multi-local" approach to community
development (e.g., mergers via partnerships).
IHDC resembles the merging approach to capacity
building (e.g., political and capital capacity) by collaborating with other faith-based groups to
expand their jurisdiction to multiple locations throughout the city. Although it is not religiously
oriented, IHDC collaborates with faith-based organizations to produce housing development
projects in multiple locations throughout the city of Chicago. The traditional role of faith-based
organizations as indigenous community service providers created potential for collaboration with
IHDC. Gittell (1980) showed that lower class voluntary organizations were more likely than
middle class organizations to shift from advocacy to service because of problems maintaining
long-term organizing efforts and financial support.
In contrast to advocates who believe that CDCs are doing a good job at community
development others believe that it is not enough to reverse blight and poverty. Critics contend
that CDCs have become another developer attempting to cash in on the big business of housing
subsidies following supply-side free market economics (Lenz, 1988). The IHDC non-traditional
approach blends the business approach with service and advocacy by converging with the
religious sector. IC and IHDC form a large interfaith conglomerate, a multi-dimensional
organization with a number of smaller corporations that serve a variety of different functions
(e.g., housing production, social services, education and advocacy, etc.). The Interfaith Council
for the Homeless, the parent organization, provides advocacy, referral, and supportive services,
while IHDC produces affordable supportive housing. Adaptation to internal limitations (e.g.,
capacity, efficiency) and external vulnerabilities (e.g., environmental change) is essential
element to the survival of all HSOs. A key determinant of the organization's service delivery
system is that of the environment in which it is embedded (Hasenfeld, 1992). IHDC functions as
a traditional CDC in that the survival of the organization is contingent on its ability to obtain
resources from the external environment.
Strategy is what sets IHDC apart; multi-local mergers
enable this unit to maximize efficiency, build political and capital capacity, and establish a
hybrid method that combines traditional and non-traditional approaches.
IHDC is the affordable housing developer of the interfaith conglomerate.
IHDC does not
administer or facilitate the supportive social programs. "They only do housing," as the
Executive Director of'K' stated. "[Housing] is a very important part." (Personal interview,
March 2, 2004) IC is the social service arm, which administers and facilitates the social
programs for the larger organization. Housing development is the major function ofIHDC; this
is consistent with Stoecker's (1997) definition in his alternative to the traditional CDC model.
Yet, the question remains unanswered: how do we evaluate the effects of this strategy? As
Stoecker (1997) suggests, a multi-local CDC approach may increase political and capital
capacity. However, he does not provide insight into ways of examining or implementing this
approach. This is essentiai to the development of generalized knowledge about the multi-local
approach and its successful implementation,
The traditional CDC model and its adaptations share similar characteristic traits related to
strategy, resources, and differences in approach to community development.
both similarities and differences reveal shared traits that reflect consistency between the
traditional model and non-traditional adaptations. These shared traits help to distinguish the role
and function of the traditional CDC model from its adaptations. For example, traditional CDCs
focused on community development and job creation in one single low-income neighborhood
with indigenous community members. While non-traditional adaptations do not necessarily
share this trait, they share other factors such as advocacy, housing development, funding, and
service to low-income populations.
Traditional models were one-dimensional where non-traditional models are multidimensional.
Each has its own unique strengths and weaknesses innate to its individual function.
For example, one of the strengths of the traditional CDC model is that it is designed to spur .
indigenous community members to become enterprising and create economic opportunities for
However, a weakness is its one-dimensional approach to community development
in a single location with only indigenous community members, which increases vulnerability to
changes in the external environment. Vulnerability to the constant fluctuations and
modifications in federal and municipal housing policy, and funding resources can result in
decreased capacity and CDC failure.
Alternatively, one of the strengths of the non-traditional multi-local approach is its multidimensional nature. The multi-local approach allows non-traditional adaptations to diversify
their portfolios. These organizations can participate in a variety of different physical
development projects. For example IHDC, has collaborated with various community partners to
facilitate housing development for different constituencies ranging from homeless veterans to
senior citizens. Diversity provides more stability and makes the organization resilient to changes
in the external environment.
If funding in one-area ends, diversity reduces the threat of
- --- ~ -----=--~---~
organizational survival because the organization can refocus on another area. Diversification can
also be a weakness and contribute to lost focus. The organization can become consumed in the
process of garnering support and maintaining partnerships, inattention to the organizational
mission, goal and objectives can be detrimental. Inattention and preoccupation with appealing to
additional partners can cause the organization to neglect its responsibilities.
partnerships can become the organizational focus, diverting attention away from the
organizational mission of providing affordable housing for the homeless.
Non-traditional adaptations share the goal of physical development with the traditional
CDC model, but take a different approach. Utilizing the same funding sources as other
traditional CDCs, IHDC provides physical development for low-income populations throughout
the city of Chicago with different partners Within indigenous communities, which is a nontraditional adaptation to the traditional approach. Social service administration, client advocacy,
education, and organizing are traits that non-traditional adaptations share with the traditional
CDC model. However, IHDC takes a distinctly different approach to these as well. IHDC
contracts with IC to provide supportive social service, advocacy, and education.
The single focus of the traditional CDC model on one community limits capacity. One of
the characteristics of HSOs is that these organizations experience cyclical legitimacy crises, the
social awareness of the problems in indigenous communities and the legitimacy of the traditional
CDC model have eroded due to disappointments about its contributions in ameliorating blight
and poverty (Hasenfeld, 1992). Consequently, due to its one-dimensional approach, the
traditional CDC model may not survive. The following table illustrates shared traits and
providesa basis for analyzing traditional and non-traditional adaptations.
FIGURE 4. COMPARISON OF TRADITIONAL AND NON-TRADITIONAL CDCS
Affordable Housing Development
Development in one Single
(private and Public Funding)
(community organizing, education,
Indigenous Community Members
Origin (Community Organizations,
Grassroots Organizing, Reform)
Purpose (Create jobs and housing in
on Single Localized Area)
Supportive Social Service
Shared traits between traditional and non-traditional adaptations have implications on
evaluation of these approaches. Evaluation ofIHDC's
non-traditional approach must consider
more than just quantitative measures of success. Quantitative data that measures success based
on outcomes alone would be insufficient. Quantitative data would not assess changes in the
external environment that provide a c?ntext for analyzing changes within the organization.
as the shift to "Housing First" and supportive service approach to addressing the needs of the
homeless in the city of Chicago, evaluations would have to consider the contextual factors,
quantitative data would not convey.
Non-traditional approaches to community development necessitate adaptations to
traditional evaluation methods. Improved evaluation methods would need to consider the effects
of partnerships and collaborations (e.g., reconsider variables of interest to particular
In the case of a multi-functional conglomerate like IC-IHDC, evaluation
methods should consider the "synergy" effects of partnerships in order to measure the extent to
which the sum of the individual parts (i.e., social service and housing development) function
better or worse as a whole. Such methods would provide insight into the individual and
collective contribution of these separate and distinct organizations in alleviating the social
problem of poverty and homelessness and community revitalization.
The linear one-dimensional
perspective of quantitative measurement of outcomes in terms of performance would then
change to include qualitative measurement of benefit to the community and target population.
Refocusing the current goal of research from quantitative measurement on how to
achieve outcomes to include qualitative measurement of impacts may provide a means for
examining the benefit and contribution of traditional and non-traditional approaches to
The evolution oflC is a direct response to changes in external
The organization adapted to the change a new service delivery system by
reframing itself as a ''housing retainer." IC operates as a "moral entrepreneur," and acts to shape
to the external environment through its practices (Hasenfeld, 1992). In other words, IC
experienced a "legitimacy crisis" when the service delivery system changed from supportive
services in shelters to services in the home. The organizations' response to this systems level
change was to reframe its service delivery to housing retainer. These and other "contextual"
factors must be considered in evaluation of the IC-IHDC adaptation to the traditional CDC
model. Both are working on changing the "systemic issues" related to poverty and
homelessness, but each organization has its own unique method. Evaluation of the IC-IHDC
approach must consider the benefits of each organizations individual contribution in order to
understand the impact of the organization as a whole.
In summary, one of the strengths of the non-traditional approach is that the multi-local
adaptation increases organizational capacity. Specifically, the multi-local adaptation expands
jurisdiction to multiple areas throughout the city and creates opportunities for additional
For IHDC, the strongest area of collaboration appears to be with other
community service agencies. Apparently the organization has established "appropriate"
partnerships (i.e., each partner plays to its unique strength) with outside service providers. As a
large organization with smaller corporations that focus on different functions, each is enabled to
maximize capacity. The combination of housing and social service has likely reduced property
management problems (e.g., evictions) that may divert organizational development and hinder
A weakness of the non-traditional approach is that the multi-local. model and
collaborations involve trust and a certain amount of expertise among key actors. Although the
multi-local approach and collaborations play to each organization's strengths, these can also
create new challenges, as the organization must constantly nurture and protect the relationship.
The extent to which partnerships with outside service providers creates constraints is another
area for further exploration. Creating and maintaining amenable relationships with outside
service providers who may have different priorities (e.g., different organizational
may create constraints or limits collaborations over time.
It is unclear whether the collaboration between IC and IHDC yields positive affects for
the organization or the "systemic issues" of homelessness.
While this collaboration enables each
organization to capitalize on its individual strengths, it remains to be seen if this approach
significantly reduces homelessness and poverty. This could be measured with methods that
combine both qualitative and quantitative approaches.
Future research would focus on evaluating the ways in which IHDC balances the
opportunities and constraints of collaborations and multi-local mergers. Clearly, a new direction
for examining CDCs is necessary and the research presented here begins the process of
identifying potential limitations innate to evaluating traditional and non-traditional adaptations
(i.e., the multi-local model). Furthermore, it is necessary to consider the relationship between
contextual factors (i.e., drug dependence and homelessness) in order to better understand the
ways in which contexts affect organizational approaches to service delivery, its homeless
constituency, capacity, and efficiency. A combination of quantitative and qualitative evaluation
methods will not only gauge CDC performance, but also the impact of community development
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(J. Starks, Board Chairman, Interfaith Housing Development Corporation of Chicago, (Retired)
Executive Director; Interfaith House, personal communication, February 24,2004)
(J. Hobbs, Executive Director, Interfaith Council for the Homeless, personal communication,
(S. Gates, Project Manager, Interfaith Housing Development Corporation of Chicago, personal
communication, January 23, 2004)