Settlement Houses Under Siege: The Struggle to Sustain Community Organizations in New York City

Overview

Settlement Houses Under Siege: The Struggle to Sustain Community Organizations in New York City examines the past, present, and future of the settlement house in particular and nonprofit community-based services as a whole. Too often viewed as an artifact of the Progressive era, the settlement house remains today, in a variety of guises, a vital instrument capable of strengthening the social capital of impoverished communities. Yet it has been under attack in recent years, particularly in New York City. Cutbacks ...
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Overview

Settlement Houses Under Siege: The Struggle to Sustain Community Organizations in New York City examines the past, present, and future of the settlement house in particular and nonprofit community-based services as a whole. Too often viewed as an artifact of the Progressive era, the settlement house remains today, in a variety of guises, a vital instrument capable of strengthening the social capital of impoverished communities. Yet it has been under attack in recent years, particularly in New York City. Cutbacks in social service funding at federal, state, and local levels during the late 1990s left many nonprofit agencies in an essentially untenable position, dependent on a public sector interested primarily in cutting costs. Both this trend and a concomitant shift to privatization continue today, challenging the flexibility and creativity of social service administrators and undermining neighborhoods and community organizations.The findings contained in this book extend well beyond just settlement houses. The tension between the ever more restrictive business practices required by government contracts and the provision of effective social services is a powerful trend in the larger world of nonprofit agencies. Michael B. Fabricant and Robert Fisher offer a ground-level exploration of the complexity of developing and implementing a service-based community-building agenda in a hostile climate. Community building, they argue, will be the most important social service work of the twenty-first century. Drawing on more than one hundred interviews with directors and staff members of social service and nonprofit agencies throughout New York City, Settlement Houses Under Siege makes the case for a holistic view of the structural pressures confronting poor communities, one that seeks not only to reposition the idea of social service and revision social assets in a conservative age but also to pose important questions about our broader civic life.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Surveying the devastation that the accumulation of wealth into a few hands and the lionization of individualism has wreaked on non-profit social service agencies over the past decades, Fabricant (unidentified) and Fisher (social work, Hunter College) look at the nexus between delivering services, community building, and social change to find a way to staunch the bleeding. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
David Tell
Ten thousand professional journalists and politicians have already excavated their way through the enormous documentary record of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. No matter: Malti-Douglas has lately plunged into the very same maze, improbably confident that she—a foreign visitor to the United States—might yet find brand-new treasures. Damned if she hasn't succeeded...
Weekly Standard
Social Work with Groups
Fabricant and Fisher's Settlement Houses Under Siege makes a needed contribution to our understanding of community-based settlement houses and the impact their funding sources have had on their capacity to build and strengthen community life.... Fabricant and Fisher are committed to the notion of community building and the story they tell about how much settlements have been forced to retreat from their traditional neighborhood and community building functions and commitments has profound implications. In many ways their message serves as a 'wake-up call' for social group workers...
Urban Studies
Fabricant and Fisher offer an important and attractive argument about how the relance of non profit social service agencies on government funding works against the core missionm of such agencies.
Social Work and Review
A fascinating book — clear, incisive, a lesson for our times... Settlement Houses under Siege is a detailed, well-grounded and exciting text for students in social work, community education and devlopment, health and environmental studies.

— Norma Baldwin

Social Development Issues
The book systematically analyzes the role of privatization and contracting for services to changes in the way settlement houses now function... This is a timely book which deals with an important topic. By stressing the need for institutions that build community solidarity, it makes an important contribution to the literature and to community practice.
Journal of Teaching in Social Work
In a time which is increasingly focused on individual services, clinical work and treatment, Fabricant and Fisher have written an important book that reminds us that social work has always struggled with the duality of individual service provision and social reform activities.

— Daniel Kronenfeld

Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare
Fabricant and Fisher have given us an excellent problem analysis with an understanding about the underlying causes.

— Bill Buffum

Nonprofit & Voluntary Sector Quarterly
It should be required reading for students of philanthropy, public policy, and nonprofit administration.

— Elizabeth Reid

Social Work and Review - Norma Baldwin
A fascinating book — clear, incisive, a lesson for our times... Settlement Houses under Siege is a detailed, well-grounded and exciting text for students in social work, community education and devlopment, health and environmental studies.
Journal of Teaching in Social Work - Daniel Kronenfeld
In a time which is increasingly focused on individual services, clinical work and treatment, Fabricant and Fisher have written an important book that reminds us that social work has always struggled with the duality of individual service provision and social reform activities.
Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare - Bill Buffum
Fabricant and Fisher have given us an excellent problem analysis with an understanding about the underlying causes.
Nonprofit & Voluntary Sector Quarterly - Elizabeth Reid
It should be required reading for students of philanthropy, public policy, and nonprofit administration.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231119306
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 3/20/2002
  • Pages: 289
  • Lexile: 1260L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.46 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael B. Fabricant is a professor at the Hunter College School of Social Work.

Robert Fisher is director of urban studies and professor of social work at the University of Connecticut.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
Pt. 1 History Matters: Settlements and Not-for-Profit Social Service Financing
1 The Settlement House in Context: From Henry Street to Head Start 15
2 Privatization, Contracting, and Not-for-Profits Since 1975 62
Pt. 2 Contracting and Corporatized Social Services: Voices from the Field
3 Fiscal Instability: Rewriting the Contract 99
4 Infrastructural Decline 119
5 The Pressures and Fissures of Social Work 136
6 Scarce Resources: Rationing and Narrowing the Content of Social Services 168
7 Navigating the Current Fiscal Turbulence While Struggling to Chart a Social Services Future 198
Pt. 3 Rethinking the Purposes and Practices of Not-for-Profit Social Services
8 From Corporatized Contracting to Community Building 233
App Methodology of the Qualitative Inquiry 291
Notes 301
References 313
Index 343
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