Governance in Local Partnerships to Address Homelessness
Urban Aspects Consulting Group Ltd.
Organizations working to address the needs of the homeless are under tremendous pressure to serve an increasing number of people with diverse needs. They are also struggling with limited resources and find themselves coping with changes in the level and nature of government funding. Organizational governance, both its quality and nature, is a key factor in the ability of organizations to address the needs of the homeless in this challenging environment. In an organizational setting governance refers to the overall processes and structures used to direct and manage an organization s operations and activities. Encompassing roles, responsibilities, powers, partnerships and accountability, the essence of governance is captured by such questions as: Who is in charge? Who sets direction? Who makes decisions? Who monitors progress? Who is accountable for the performance of the organization? With whom and in what fashion does the agency partner and collaborate? Although there are many different models of governance, every organization is different and there is no one particular model that applies to all organizations. However, from the case study analysis undertaken it is clear that organizations work most effectively when there is a model that encourages a commitment to a clear direction and vision; organizational capacity, appropriate structures, policies and procedures to achieve this direction; accountability to funders and community stakeholders; sufficient adaptability to meet changing circumstances; the ability of the organization to develop and maintain effective partnerships; and, the ability of the board and staff to work as a team.