Week 7, Assignment 3
The Concept of Program Reengineering
Based on the Case Study:
Mayor Schell’s Zero Homeless Family Strategy
Modern Public Administration
On June 2nd, 1998, Mayor Paul Schell spoke to the press about the needs of homeless families,
women and children. He asked for the City Council’s support in providing“immediate
emergency assistance to homeless families and single women, a critical stepin providing
lasting housing solutions for these families and individuals.” He noted that“the problem
continues to grow and we absolutely must find better ways to help peoplefind and keep
housing.” He closed his remarks with a firm pledge that there will be nohomeless families with
children or homeless single women on the streets of Seattle byChristmas 1998. His pledge
made headlines in both Seattle papers the next day.
Alan Painter, Director of the Community Services Division of the Department ofHousing and
Human Services, listened attentively to the new Mayor’s remarks. Painterhas dedicated his
professional career to serving the needs of homeless people. He wasproud and excited to hear
Schell’s passion and commitment to addressing homelessnessin Seattle. At the same time, he
viewed the pledge with some trepidation. Counting thenumber of homeless people on the street
at any given time is notoriously tricky,influenced by many factors. Further, he wondered how
this pledge would dovetail withCity priorities and plans for dealing with homelessness. These
plans emphasize servicesto homeless people rather than just providing beds and they stress the
need for otherjurisdictions to share in funding homeless services. The next six months
promised to keepAlan Painter very busy.
This assignment is about Mayor Paul Schell’s pledge for homeless families in Seattle,
Mayor Schell on June 2, 1998 spoke to the press and pledge that there will be
no homeless families with children and homeless single women on the streets of Seattle by
Christmas 1998. This assignment will analyze the policies, strategies, and programs within his
administration and the impact on them by his pledge. It will also study the implementation of
the program. In addition, it will discuss the importance of the assessments prior to the
Analyze four (4) policy choices of Mayor Schell that were made as part of the strategy for
the homeless.
Mayor Paul Schell has several options to make to create a strategy about the homeless situation
in Seattle. In the city the county committee had created its own strategy to attend the
homeless condition. Even though, the county program has been in place for several years
already their focus is in continuing supportingthe existent shelters and services provided to the
homeless, not to expand the capacity of them.
Based on that, four policy choices Mayor Schell could had made as part of his strategy for the
homeless are:
1) Convene a housing summit – “Schell promised to convene a housing summit
immediately after his inauguration to develop strategies to address the unmet demand
for affordable housing” (Hallway, 2010, p.5). The lack of affordable housing is one
of the main reasons for the increasing numbers of homeless people in Seattle.
Attacking the source of the problem is an assertive way to solve the problem.
2) Create more shelters or housing options for the homeless – the existent strategies of
the King County Community Homelessness Advisory Committee did not provide for
the expansion of the services. “These plans emphasize services to homeless people
rather than just providing beds” (Hallway, 2010, p.1). Therefore an immediate plan
needed to be put in place.
3) Support and expand the housing programs for homeless and people in need – the
homeless population was affected by different factors. “The three major factors
contributing to homelessness in King County are inadequate income, the high cost of
housing, and personal or family problems, such as domestic violence, drug and
alcohol abuse or mental illness” (Hallway, 2010, p.2). For that reason the continuous
support to the programs that provide services to them, or even the expansion of these
services at certain point needs to be considered as part of the solution.
4) Keep strengthening the support programs for transitional housing families – After
these families and individuals are brought to the transitional housing programs the
right support and guideline could make the difference between succeeding and
keeping a permanent housing, or going back to the streets. As mayor Schell
expressed “a critical step in providing lasting housing solutions for these families and
individuals” (Hallway, 2010, p.1). Providing lasting housing, not only provisional
housing should be the goal.
Analyze the Pre-Implementation and Design Strategies of Mayor Schell and interpret four
(4) practical outcomes of his choices.
Mayor Schell pre-implementation and design strategies are intimately related to the policy
choices previously mentioned. His strategy is to decrease the number of homeless in the
streets of Seattle before the Christmas 1998. He mentioned more specifically, homeless
families with children and single women. He also stated his interest on designing a strategy to
develop more affordable housing for those in need. As part of the implementation more
capacity in the shelters or more shelters needed to be created and best support for the programs
that provide services and immediate assistance to the homeless population.
As possible outcomes from these strategies four (4) practical outcomes that could be
mention are:
1) Successfully achievement of the goal – meaning that actually by Christmas 1998 all
families with children and single women will be out of the streets of Seattle and in a
temporary housing arrangement (shelter, transitional housing, etc.).
2) Re-design of the city programs – as result of the new strategy the county programs will
be adjusted to serve the new goals of providing more capacity, and readjusted to provide
services to the new individuals as the preexisting ones.
3) New housing programs – one of the first things Mayor Schell stated was his interest in
facilitating more affordable housing. As a result of this strategy new housing programs
could emerge as part of the effort.
4) Re-adjustment of the final goal – it is always a possibility that initial plan could not be
achieved. From June to December it is only six months of difference. The city budget
would need to be adjusted for the new necessities, and probably new funding would be
necessary. These and other factors could affect the chances of success of the program.
Reconstruct four (4) steps taken by Mayor Schell to reengineer the program in order to fit
the new objectives.
The day after Mayor Schell communicated his pledge both Seattle newspaper dedicated its
headlines to the new. According to Susan Byrnes (1998), “The mayor said … he would ask
the City Council to immediately allocate $500,000 for additional shelter beds, short-term rent
assistance to families about to be evicted and hotel vouchers for homeless women and children.
Schell also released a list of 11 ways ordinary citizens can help address homelessness,
including respecting and being kind to them” (The Seattle Times, para.2). Through this
declaration the four (4) steps taken by Mayor Schell to reengineer the program are easy to
1) Convocation of the housing summit – to be able to immediately allocate $500,000 for
the program the Mayor needed to summit all the components involved in this
planning process. From the County committee, city staff, and any private
organization related with the program.
2) Building new shelters - identifying the most viable and more economically
manageable options, it was possibly one the first steps done by Mayor Schell and the
committee in charge.
3) Re-strengthening the support programs for homeless - supporting programs like
short-term rent assistance to families about to be evicted, hotel vouchers for homeless
women and children and low income housing was another step taken by the Mayor.
4) Involve the community and organizations – acknowledging the community of the
need of them be part of the solution could be really helpful and make a change in the
final outcome. In addition, appealing to organizations, from non for profit
organizations to private organizations, which their services and products will
contribute and add to the realization of the main goal, is a well needed step in the
search for more opportunities for the homeless population.
Analyze four (4) reasons for the importance of conducting assessments prior to new
program implementation.
Four (4) reasons for the importance of conducting assessments prior to the implementation of
the new program are:
1) To confirm the data and/or statistics are correct – Alan Painter said “Schell’s pledge
raised the stakes and the scrutiny of the homeless street count” (Hallway, 2010, p.6).
Any budget or plans created as part of the organizations previous to implementing a
program need to be based in accurate information, real numbers, and realistic
expectations. Alan Painter also “wonders who will be counting and how they will do so”
(Hallway, 2010, p.7).
2) Organization and classification of the data obtained – it is not only critical to know the
exact numbers of homeless people but to classify it in the different groups that compose
them. Mayor Schell pledge was directly addressed to homeless families with children
and single women. Thus, it is important to determine the specific numbers of each group
to be served.
3) Determine the physical areas to be impact – the strategically location of the new shelters
need to be useful or serve for the purpose. Painter “wonders what effect the pledge will
have on the supply and demand of shelter space” (Hallway, 2010, p.6). Determine the
necessities by areas would clarify the kind of resources needed for that specific location
and population.
4) To determine the cause and effect – “factors beyond the City’s control have a significant
impact on the number of homeless people” (Hallway, 2010, p.6). Determine the cause
orfactors that affect the homeless population have an immediate effect in the services and
support programs needed to help them. Factors like domestic violence, drugs,
unemployment, and insufficient income determine the type of services essential to
provide an effective program that will assist this families and individuals to succeed in
the future.
When the city is able to identify the causes it can put measures in place to assist those already in
the streets and to minimize other people from living in the streets.
• Mission or Objectives: Analyze where you are and where you want to be. In order to
try and combat homelessness, before implementing a program, you must determine the
actual number of homeless persons living in the city. This is important because the city
requires correct information in order to plan adequately for housing and in providing
• Development of Alternative Strategies: Determine the area where the program will be
most effective. For a new program, you must determine geographical details related to
how the homeless population is spread across the city. The homeless population in Seattle
comes from a broad geographic area and this information is important in order to
determine strategic places where shelters can be located.
• Environmental Analysis: Obtaining adequate data like an environment analysis of the
area the program will be operated. Determining the various sub groups in the homeless
population is important for Mayor Schell’s pledge to be successful. Mayor Schell's
strategies mainly targets homeless families and single women and in order to efficiently
plan, you have to know the measure and different subgroups that are homeless.
Adequate data is crucial in planning for housing and in determining expenses to be
incurred in the implementation of a new program.
Consideration of these issues will lead to several strategic alternatives and to the choice of a
particular direction in which the program should move. They will also indicate what must be
done immediately so that the program is most effective.
Coordinated strategy to prevent homelessness.The United States Conference of Majors.Retrieved
March 5, 2012 from http://www.usmayors.org/bestpractices/homeless/seattle_wa.htm
Denhardt, R.B., &Denhardt, J.V. (2009). Public administration: An action orientation: 2010
custom editiond. (6th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thompson – Wadsworth – Cengage Learning.
Fahrenthold, D. A. . Christmas miracle for homeless?.The Seattle Times. (1998, August)
Retrieved March 6, 2011 from
Homelessness in Seattle: Planning methods in public policy. Policy Penguin (2011, November)
Retrieved March 5, 2012 from http://policypenguin.blogspot.com/2011/11/homelessness-inseattle-planning.html
Mayor Schell’s zero homeless family pledge. The Electronic Hallway. (2010) Retrieved March
4, 2012 from http://glennschool.osu.edu/faculty/brown/home/812%20Strategy/2010/schell.pdf

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