Homeless Service Networks

From Structure to Composition:  What Influences Network Effectiveness?

In this project I examine the influence of network characteristics on network effectiveness. The sample consists of 242 federally funded homeless service networks called Continuums of Care (CoCs). I am interested in finding out if different networking environments, operations, or administrative mechanisms are associated with differences in network performance. My outcome measures include constructs such as innovation, efficiency, adaptability that are novel to this area of research. The project includes longitudinal data from several sources as well as an original survey I conducted of CoC network managers.

Not all networks are the same.

Although HUD requires CoCs to have governance bodies, ultimately each CoC develops their own governance structure. The figures below present four different CoCs in 2010. The nodes represent agencies, both public and nonprofit, involved in each CoC. These are not all the agencies in the CoCs but just those involved in three different governance and leadership bodies: executive committee, 10-year plan committee, and consolidated plan committee. A tie between two agencies means that they serve together on one of these bodies.
As shown, some CoCs like the Austin CoC have a highly centralized governance structure while others like the Salt Lake City CoC have a much more decentralized structure.

esparza_kresge2012_2esparza_kresge2012_3

Driving Research Questions:

Which structure is more effective? Well, it should depend on the outcome measure.

Does it matter who the central agencies are that make a difference?