Building Public Housing Residents' Capacity to Prepare for and Benefit From Neighborhood Redevelopment
Methods: A community-based mixed methods design was used that included a resident survey (n=387) and in-depth resident interviews (n=25). Participants were predominantly female (73%), Latino/Latina (44%) or African American (22%), and had incomes of less than $12,500 (76%). Recruitment techniques included delivering flyers, door knocking, and a gift card incentive. Existing scales were used to measure social cohesion, organizational collective efficacy, neighborhood problems, and activism. New scales were created for involvement, possessing a TRP, and readiness. A split-half exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis was conducted with all measures prior to completing a structural equation model. Qualitative interviews were analyzed with constant comparative analysis and used to elaborate on quantitative findings.
Results: The structural equation model resulted in adequate model fit (RMSEA=.024). The model found that readiness for TOMIR is predicted by social cohesion, organizational collective efficacy, and possessing a TRP. Resident involvement in neighborhood organizations is predicted by neighborhood problem identification and activism. Involvement in neighborhood organizations co-varies with resident readiness for TOMIR. Residents higher on all study variables are more ready for TOMIR. Qualitative interviews suggested residents low in community capacities experience barriers to involvement in collective activities, thus requiring household level interventions to prepare for change, as well as ways in which community capacities may be fostered and thwarted.
Implications: This study developed three new measures and identified existing measures predicting community capacities related to readiness for TOMIR. Preparing residents for change should include both household level supports and community processes, a finding consistent with federal mandates for collective engagement of residents (Economic Opportunity Act, 1964), as well as recent research indicating the need for household level case management (Theodos, Popkin, et al., 2010).