A New Approach to Homelessness: The Advantages of Co-Production<br />Joann Zimmer, candidate<br />Executive Master of Public Administration<br />Executive Leadership Institute<br />Mark O. Hatfield School of Government<br />Portland State University<br />June 12, 2010<br />
Acknowledgements</li></li></ul><li>Problem<br /><ul><li>Oregon has the highest proportion of homeless people in the nation – 0.54 percent of all residents (19,208 in 2010)* and the numbers continue to rise.
Only one in seven homeless people are able to find a bed in crisis; more than 350 people a day are turned away from homelessness services because of a lack of capacity (mostly women and children).
Despite 2009 federal appropriations of nearly $4.2 billion** for homeless services, there are nearly 1 million people nightly who go to sleep without safe and stable shelter. </li></ul>* Oregon Housing and Community Services’ One-Night Homeless Count, January 2010; http://www.ehac.oregon.gov/OHCS/CRD/CSS/docs/onsc_reports/2010/state_report/10_State_Wide_Count.pdf and 2008 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress <br />** According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness (www.endhomelessness.org), the 2009 federal allocation of $4.175 billion was shared by HUD ($3.391 billion [81%]), Heath and Human Services ($396.95 million [9%]), VA ($109.5 million [3%]), and all other federal agencies combined ($278 million [7%]).<br />
Purposes of Project<br />To identify alternative approaches to dealing with the wicked problem of homelessness.<br />To document the role that the homeless can play in working toward a solution.<br />
Research Process<br /><ul><li>Literature Review
Face-2-face conversations over 14 years with service providers, public- and private-sector leaders, electeds, those in poverty/homeless.
Coordination of two multi-jurisdictional steering committees in creating plans to address local issues of homelessness.
Participation in state, regional, and national workgroups working to describe and design the innovations we collectively ‘see’ through shared vision.</li></ul>Limitations<br /><ul><li>Small sample size – 75 (51% response to surveys).
Didn’t include direct interviews with faith-based community.
Information was difficult to categorize and distill.</li></li></ul><li>Literature Review<br />The literature suggests that addressing the wicked problem of homelessness requires a systems change that holistically integrates the public, private and not for profit sectors into a new collaborative relationship that co-produces solutions to homelessness with the target population actively participating.<br />Characteristics<br /><ul><li>Wicked Problems
Co-Production</li></li></ul><li>Co-Production: The Centerpiece of a New Model<br /><ul><li>Participants will work together with a shared vision and goals that are collaborative and focused.
The homeless community must be an active and focal participant in the process: feedback loops, personal development, and practical [organic] innovations.
New interventions must be sustainable andthe integrity of the partnership structure maintained. </li></li></ul><li>Interview Findings<br />Positives<br /><ul><li>The service providers are ready for innovations.
Service providers identify collaborative partnerships as being the centerpiece of creating new models.
Redesigned systems and innovations need to include the continuum of homeless.
Homelessness is more than a 'housing problem; it reflects an inadequate safety net, a manifestation of other issues (addiction, poverty, education).
Co-production is desirable and already happening.
The unique individual assets of the homeless must be the starting point in a co-productive and collaborative system. </li></li></ul><li>Interview Findings*<br />Barriers to Change<br /><ul><li>Systems of measurement, feedback loops, and accountability are key and currently don’t widely exist.
The cost of managing co-productive systems could be prohibitive, especially in smaller, rural jurisdictions.
The possibility of participants in the co-productive process of remaining ‘stuck’ in prevailing human/social services and being fearful of the risks of the homeless themselves delivering services.
Language around co-production could be interesting to develop, e.g. By its nature the process expects all participants will contribute to the collaboration (balanced for all). </li></ul>* Interviewees represent a broad cross-section of service providers, governments [local, state, federal], and communitymembers.<br />
Survey Findings*<br /><ul><li>Critical leadership skills important in moving public service forward, four possibilities relating to co-production and relationship-building earned more than 60% support.
Service providers/advocates comprise the majority of respondents; many identified multiple categories. No homeless (or formerly).** In a subsequent question, 47% of respondents indicated participation of the homeless in current or former local collaborative partnerships.
77.8% of respondents would collaboratively participate in developing innovative interventions and new human/social service delivery designs. </li></ul>* Two, 10 questions each, internet-based. 75 invitations to participate sent; 51% response.<br />** Relationship-building for thoughtful interviewing takes time, and the target population isn’t equipped to participate unassisted via internet-based survey.<br />
Personal Experience<br />Through the course of many conversations and opportunities to assist the homeless over a period of 14 years, I have learned the homeless are assets and experts in their own circumstances. They:<br /><ul><li>Are inventive, creative, and resilient;
Have much to teach. The volume of their life experiences and unique wisdom could never be learned by providers, elected officials, or community members;*
Want to participate in a solutions-driven process; they don’t want to be homeless forever.</li></ul>* Unless they are homeless themselves.<br />
Project Conclusions<br /><ul><li>Co-production offers a framework which encourages engagement and active participation of the homeless.
Innovation and outside-the-box thinking are important in developing updated organizational models.
Development of effective continuous feedback opportunities and process updating is crucial.</li></li></ul><li>Leadership Lessons Learned from Project & Program<br /><ul><li>Exposure to public leadership literature has confirmed the importance I have always placed on keeping ‘the people’ the priority.
The diversity of leadership tools and methods should be more widely shared to encourage both leaders and followers to develop more engaging, co-productive, and sustainable systems.
The five effective practices of exemplary leadership as defined by Kouzes & Posner defines a perfect roadmap for moving a co-productive partnership forward: Model the Way, Inspire a Shared Vision, Challenge the Process, Enable Others to Act, and Encourage the Heart.</li></ul>“We do not describe the world we see, we see the world we describe.”<br />~~David Cooperrider (‘father’ of Appreciative Inquiry)<br />