Document Type


Publication Date



This article examines the potential of nonprofit housing providers to participate effectively in housing programs linked to the welfare reform self-sufficiency movement. It reviews proposals for housing reforms which address expanded roles for nonprofit housing providers. With actual experiences of nonprofits as a framework, it explains their organizational patterns. Further, the article explores the supportive services and incentive programs commonly included in self-sufficiency programs employed by nonprofits and suggests modifications to such programs to improve upward mobility for participants. The authors acknowledge that self-sufficiency plans are not for everyone, and suggests alternative schemes for serving those segments of the population which are not likely to benefit from these programs.

After reviewing the housing continuum from shelter through transitional housing to permanent housing, with special emphasis on the traditional role nonprofits have played, the authors propose a three part housing strategy that emphasizes responsibility, rather than self-sufficiency, as the standard for continuing housing assistance. The article concludes with the argument that nonprofits need greater regulatory flexibility to enable them to reach their potential.