Examining a comprehensive model for building capacity in homeless families

Chris Rogutsky, University of Pennsylvania


Many Americans have been denied employment opportunities. Perhaps the members of society who are most susceptible to these denied opportunities are the homeless. The number of homeless families has been on the rise for the past several decades. Many programs are available to these families while they reside in transitional shelters. It is important that programming for homeless women with children be directed at providing education and skills that will lead to financial solvency. Such programs can break cycles of family poverty and homelessness that are so devastating to the women, their children, and society. The primary purpose of this study was to develop a structure for effective programming to assist homeless families in becoming self-sufficient. In order to create this structure, this study examined current program areas and components of one organization, Homes for the Homeless, a not-for-profit service provider for homeless families in New York City. The intent was to examine the perceptions of workers and clients of the American Family Inns to create a rich picture of the organizational life at Homes for the Homeless as experience by all stakeholders. It was assumed that an examination of this kind would suggest a set of organizational attributes that could enhance programming at Homes for the Homeless and similar agencies serving the homeless. Interviews with staff members and current and former residents allowed for the collection of data to address research questions concerning current programs provided by Homes for the Homeless, to determine which program areas and components were related to a perception of successful program outcomes, and to describe how the organizational ethos of this not-for-profit organization was conveyed and experienced by the participant interviewees. Beyond the extensive programmatic offerings available at the American Family Inns, nine attributes related to the atmosphere or climate of the Inns were revealed as important in the organization's effective delivery of services. The study revealed a rich cultural life within the organization and documented several components of institutional life that may contribute to establishing an encouraging and help-rich setting for clients.

Subject Area

Adult education|Continuing education

Recommended Citation

Rogutsky, Chris, "Examining a comprehensive model for building capacity in homeless families" (2005). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3168042.