• Youth Homelessness
  • Volume 20, Number 3
  • Managing Editor: Mark D. Shroder
  • Associate Editor: Michelle P. Matuga
 

Performance of Small Public Housing Authorities: Opportunities and Barriers

Andrew J. Greenlee
Han Bum Lee
Paul E. McNamara
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Most public housing authorities in the United States are relatively small, serving less than 1,000 combined households. Research on the performance and operations of housing authorities, however, focuses on very large housing authorities. This article examines small housing authorities’ operational performance and discusses management strengths and challeges associated with running small housing authorities. We draw on HUD adminstrative data and a series of indepth interviews with housing authority administrators in Illinois to examine housing authority performance metrics and accountability structures. We find that program sociodemographic factors and population served influence the likelihood of receiving high performance designation. Small housing authorities, particularly those in rural areas are less likely to be designated as “high-performing,” and regional heterogeneity affects small housing authority performance levels. Semi-structured interviews with nine executive directors and administrators of small housing authorities in Illinois reveal additional management and accountability challenges, suggesting the need for a more holistic means of assessing housing authority performance and service delivery.


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