Research Methodologies

Case Analysis A: Research Methodologies.Case Analysis A: Research Methodologies.
Case Analysis A: Research Methodologies. Evaluate the requirements for assessing the organization described in the case study for this assignment. I will send you the Mid -City Homeless Shelter Case Study for this assignment.
Read the case study carefully. Then, in a paper of at least 1,500 words (excluding title and reference pages), address all of the following:
a. Identify at least five board, over-arching research questions you have about the human services organization described in the case study. What do you need to know to better understand the dynamics of the organization?
b. Recommend a set of both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies to answer the research questions you have identified. Explain how each methodology works, and why each methodology is appropriate to gather information about the organization.
c. Describe how you would implement each methodology and identify the types of information or data that each methodology will yield.
d. Discuss how you will analyze the information and data you collect and how such information or data would be used for decision-making purposes.
Note that you do not need to include an abstract for this paper. Support your analysis and recommendations with references to at least three scholarly sources (academic journal articles) Do not rely on textbooks as primary sources. Your primary sources must be academic journal articles.
Mid-City Homeless Shelter Case Study  Mid-City Homeless Shelter (MCHS) is a vibrant organization focusing on the needs of homeless people in the greater metropolitan area.  Originally begun as an outreach project of the MidCity Baptist Church, MCHS’s mission and scope have evolved over the past five years.  The concept behind the original outreach project was to provide temporary shelter and meals for a few homeless men during a particularly cold winter.  A community-wide appeal from the Mayor’s office to help shelter the homeless in community facilities during a prolonged period of cold weather convinced Pastor Allen that his congregation should participate in an act of Christen kindness.  Pastor Allen worked with like-minded individuals in the congregation to set up temporary facilities in the church’s gymnasium to house ten men, to provide a hot meal each day, and access to basic hygiene and warm clothing.  Initially, some members of the congregation were wary of housing homeless people in a facility that supported a number of other community and church-related activities, such as after-school childcare programs, Bible study groups, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, book clubs, choir practice, teen group activities, a youth basketball program, and Sunday school.  In fact, Mid-City Baptist Church was a focal point of community activities for a large portion of the predominantly African-American and Hispanic populations living in the mid-city area.  Opponents of the homeless outreach project were concerned that the presence of transients in church facilities would lead to problems including vandalism and theft, and that the transients would degrade the quality of other programs co-located in church facilities.  In the short term, a small number of congregants decided to seek an alternative place of worship, believing MidCity was exceeding its mission by becoming involved in housing the homeless.  But Pastor Allen persisted, supported by an active group of volunteers led by a feisty retired social worker named Mrs. Johnson.  Mrs. Johnson and the other volunteers quickly organized themselves into work teams to prepare the gym and small locker room area to accommodate the first group of homeless men assigned to the Mid-City shelter by the city’s Social Services Department.  With many years of experience dealing with transient and indigent populations, Mrs. Johnson was able to train and oversee other volunteers to meet the needs of the homeless men, while enforcing boundaries and house rules that ensured the safety and comfort not only of the homeless residents, but of other people using the church facilities.    The one-month shelter experiment at Mid-City Baptist Church quickly expanded to a second month and then a third.  At the time, the city’s resources for the homeless were inadequate to address the needs of a population plagued by rising costs of housing and poor prospects for employment in the area’s depressed economy.  More people sought services that the city’s shelters were unable to accommodate.  It became clear that the work started by Pastor Allen and spearheaded by Mrs. Johnson was meeting an urgent need for a vulnerable population.    Mid-City Baptist Church is located on the site of a former school, and the variety of different kinds of space under the church’s control made expansion of the homeless program feasible.  After a successful start and some growing pains, Mid-City Homeless Shelter first expanded to house up to 45 homeless men, and then expanded to accommodate up to 10 homeless women in facilities adjacent to the men’s shelter.   In addition to providing housing, food and basic living necessities, MCHS began offering programs for residents in areas such as personal finance, health education, life skills and substance abuse.  Any resident wishing to stay more than five days in one of the shelter beds was required to sign a contract agreeing to refrain from using drugs or alcohol and to participate in self-help programs designed to enhance selfsufficiency and eventually lead to the ability to move out of the shelter and into more permanent housing.    MCHS works in partnership with the city’s Social Services Department to coordinate the provision of services to the homeless, including those unable to be served by city shelters.  Pastor Allen still shepherds the congregation of Mid-City Baptist Church and serves on the Council of Advisors for MCHS, providing spiritual advice to the organization.  Mrs. Johnson long ago turned over responsibilities for the growing program to a paid professional manager, but still serves as a volunteer, working with individual residents on developing sustainable life skills for transition.  The current program Director, Myra Wilson, has led MCHS for the past two years, and has achieved commendable results.  Last year alone 70 people were served by the program, 65% of residents left the shelter with an income source, and over 50% of residents moved into stable housing within the community.    Much of the work required to operate MCHS is performed by volunteer staff, assisted by a small core of paid employees who lead and work in functional areas such as dining services, facilities and maintenance, and administrative services.  A few of the former homeless residents of MCHS who showed aptitude and ability are now employed by the organization in roles such as cooks, custodians, and security personnel.  Volunteers include members of the Mid-City Baptist Church and other community members who offer their time and resources to serve the homeless population.   Some volunteers have earned the designation of Senior Volunteer because of their skills or dedicated service, positions that make them near equivalents of paid staff in terms of scope of responsibilities and accountability, although volunteers rarely work a 40-hour week, as do paid staff.  Church deacons serve as lay (non-ordained) ministers to the resident population, ministering to spiritual needs of the homeless residents.  Despite the success of MCHS, some Senior Volunteers and church deacons are beginning to grumble about the inordinate amount of time and resources that are required to sustain the program.  Some contend that MCHS grew too fast, making promises to the city’s Social Services Department and the surrounding community to provide a greater level of services than was reasonable, given limited resources and experience within Mid-City Baptist Church.  At issue now is a recent request by the city’s Social Services Department that MCHS begin providing shelter and services to homeless families, something the organization has not done before and an expansion of the program’s scope that has raised grave concerns among Senior Volunteers, church deacons and certain members of the Council of Advisors.  Pastor Allen has waved off such concerns, stating that “the Lord’s will shall be done,” but providing little reassurance or tangible evidence to those concerned about how MCHS, and, by extension, Mid-City Baptist Church, can rise to the challenge of providing shelter and services for homeless families in addition to its population of single homeless residents.    Recent financial woes have made the work of the MCHS volunteer staff more challenging.  Because of the recent economic downturn, more homeless people than ever before are seeking services.  At the same time, contributions from businesses, foundations, private donors and granting agencies are shrinking.  Other agencies that once provided services to residents of MCHS, such as educational institutions, counseling centers, mental health facilities, social service agencies and other such providers, are beginning to cut back on the scope of services they are able to provide for free.  MCHS must use a greater proportion of its own operating funds to offer the kinds of programs homeless residents need to become self-sufficient.  Funding is tight, and some programs that would benefit residents can’t be offered because of budget constraints.       MCHS has never had a surplus of funds; the competition for financial contributions and service donations in the region is fierce.  There are simply too many philanthropic organizations with out-stretched hands attempting to convince potential donors that their cause deserves attention.  Because of this and the economic downturn, MCHS has begun to lean more and more heavily on the good-will and financial support of volunteers and Mid-City Baptist church members.  If funds are short, MCHS puts out a call for additional financial support from volunteers and church members, many of whom reach into their own pockets time and time again to provide needed funds to keep MCHS solvent.  Some are beginning to grumble about the financial strain associated with supporting the program.  Recently, a number of long-time volunteers and church deacons held a meeting without Pastor Allen or Director Wilson to talk about the organization, its mission, and their concerns for the long-term viability of the shelter.  They agreed among themselves that MCHS needs outside help.  They first approached Pastor Allen, who deflected their concerns to Myra Wilson.  They met with Myra and asked her to consider bringing in outside resources to help the organization get back on more solid footing.  At first, Myra opposed the idea, but—faced with the threat from some very important volunteers and deacons that they could no longer support MCHS unless changes were made—she capitulated.   The Current Situation  1. Myra Wilson is a somewhat controversial leader.  While Myra is acknowledged to be a skillful organizer and a dedicated, hard-working manager who gets results, her leadership practices have been criticized as heavy-handed.  You learn that some staff and volunteers are unhappy because Myra overrules their decisions without prior discussion, and she undermines their authority by taking direct action with clients without first consulting with those responsible for providing services.  Myra is known to be quick to criticize when something goes wrong, causing at least three volunteers to leave the organization in the past year because they felt under-appreciated by Myra.  Staff have suggested that MCHS develop a formal training program for volunteers to reduce errors and improve skills, but Myra has rebuffed these recommendations, saying there’s no time or money to invest in volunteers and that anyone ought to be able to do the work required of volunteers.  This concerns the Coordinator of Volunteer Services because finding and keeping good volunteers is a difficult job.  2. Claudia Williams, the Senior Volunteer in charge of fund raising, has recently heard from a major donor that Myra’s over-bearing manner has caused the donor to reconsider the amount of money she will provide next year to support MCHS.  This is not the first time Claudia has heard complaints from donors about Myra’s directive style in personal interactions.  Although this donor is devoted to MCHS, she and other donors Claudia works with don’t appreciate Myra’s treatment of them, and they have made it clear they continue to support the organization despite Myra.  Last month Myra personally contacted a donor—without Claudia’s knowledge—and browbeat the woman into providing an additional onetime contribution to fund program expenses.  Moreover, Myra allowed the donor to restrict the funds for specific purposes as opposed to allocating them to the general fund.  Claudia is concerned that MCHS will continue to have challenges raising the funds necessary to keep the organization running, especially if Myra continues to interfere with the work of the fund raising team at MCHS.  3. Early on, when Pastor Allen realized that housing the homeless had evolved from being a short-term community response by the Mid-City Baptist Church to a fulltime programmatic commitment, he sought help from a member of the congregation to file paperwork with the IRS to establish the Mid-City Homeless Shelter as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.  This allowed MCHS to benefit from the tax-exempt provisions of the tax code, while enabling donors to make tax deductible contributions to the organization.   However, little has been done since that time to ensure that MCHS is compliant with applicable state and federal tax laws regulating non-profits.  MCHS monitors cash flow internally through the Budget Office, overseen by staff member, Jim Reeves.  Jim is a capable individual, but his training and skills lie mainly in bookkeeping tasks like paying bills and tracking expenses.  Another volunteer prepares the organization’s annual tax filings, including Form 990, but she admits that she doesn’t have the knowledge or experience to ensure that MCHS is in compliance with applicable laws and tax codes.  Recent questions have arisen at the Council of Advisors about the applicability of certain provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and whether MCHS is a church auxiliary organization or a stand-alone non-profit.  Some members of the Council of Advisors have called for an outside audit of the organization, but there’s no money in the budget for this kind of review.    4. Martin Williams is a Senior Volunteer in dining services.  He helps coordinate the preparation and service of resident meals, and has a primary responsibility for soliciting donations of food from food service companies, grocery stores and local restaurants.  He believes that it is appropriate to be reimbursed for certain personal expenses associated with his role and he regularly requests reimbursement for things such as travel expenses, meals, and cell phone charges.  Other volunteers at MCHS are not reimbursed for these types of expenses and they believe Martin is inappropriately receiving reimbursement with funds that could be used for the organization’s true mission.  Martin has responded that he is not violating any written organizational policies and that the organization is lucky to have him.  Martin has also been observed taking food items from the kitchen at MCHS.  He has justified his actions by saying that the donor “wanted to share the food with Martin and his family.”  Myra has taken no action to curtail Jim’s behaviors, labeling him an “indispensable volunteer.”  5. The mission of MCHS is to “extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ by providing temporary shelter and resources to those in need.”  Part of the organization’s approach to working with the homeless is to encourage Christian values and worship as a means of helping homeless residents gain stability and focus in their lives.  At the same time, as a condition of receiving grant funds from the state, MCHS does not discriminate in the population it serves, accepting homeless of all religious backgrounds.  Generally this has worked well, and most of the homeless residents comply with requirements for participating in religious discussions and prayer meetings.  However, a couple of the church deacons working as volunteers in Christian ministry have begun to make increasing demands of the residents, asking them to profess their belief and chastising those who hesitate to embrace their sinfulness and the saving powers of Jesus Christ.  This escalating focus on Christian doctrine has caused some residents to drop out of the program. Most just leave without providing a specific reason for doing so; they just declare the MCHS self-help program “isn’t for them.”  Others have begun to voice their dissatisfaction with the proselytizing of these volunteers, but resident concerns have been largely ignored.  Recently a homeless resident who is known to be gay was called out as “sinner in the eyes of the Lord.”   6. The Council of Advisors for MCHS is comprised of individuals whom Pastor Allen knows well.  All are members of the Mid-City Baptist Church who were invited by Pastor Allen to sit on the six-person Council and help oversee the achievement of MCHS’s mission.  The Council doesn’t have any formal set of guidelines to govern its actions, relying instead on Pastor Allen’s guidance as to the topics of concern and discussion it pursues.  This has led to a primarily “hand-off” philosophy on the part of the Council, which has suited Pastor Allen and Myra Wilson very well.  Recently, however, a new member was appointed to the Council.  Makayla Miller is a middle-aged mental health therapist who works with juveniles in the criminal justice system.  Makayla was recommended for membership by one of the other Council members and was pleased to be asked to serve on the Council because Council membership brings with it status in the Mid-City Baptist Church community.  Now that she’s been appointed to the Council, Makayla hopes to bring to the Council and MCHS the benefit of her many years of working within a structured organizational environment. Much to the dismay of Pastor Allen and the other members of the Council, she has proposed that the Council reform itself along the lines of a formal Board of Directors, draw up formal governance codes and guidelines, and exert more influence on the leadership and operations of MCHS.  The last Council meeting was characterized by an unusual amount of tension as members reacted strongly to Makayla’s proposal to create more work for the group.

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