The Shift to Performance-Based Management in a NYC Homeless Shelter: A Case Study

National Alliance to End Homelessness
Over the past several years, a major shift has occurred in the ways in which municipalities manage, measure, and reward the performance of not-for-profit organizations. Government agencies now focus on clearly defined programmatic outcomes, measure achievement against concrete standards, and give providers the opportunity to earn substantial bonuses if they meet or exceed program targets. In turn, this has brought about significant changes in the management strategies, organizational culture, and performance measurement systems utilized in not-for-profit organizations across the country. This article describes the change process that took place recently at HELP USA, a New York City-based not-for-profit that provides homeless services and operates affordable housing at multiple locations across the country. The discussion focuses on the changes that occurred at one of the organization’s transitional housing facilities, and resulted in a 111% increase in productivity over the course of a single year. The new management/ measurement practices have since been instituted throughout the organization, and have significantly improved HELP USA’s ability to meet its service targets and compete for new government contracts in an increasingly competitive human service environment.
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