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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
The Meanings of Resident Empowerment: Why Just About Everybody Thinks It's a Good Idea and What It Has to Do with Resident Management
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It is generally believed that public housing resident management results in improved social, economic, and physical conditions at development sites and in an empowered community of tenants. While there is some documentation of improvements, there is little documentation regarding empowerment. Further, it is not always clear what proponents of resident management mean by empowerment or how it grows out of the resident management process.

This article explores the relationship between community empowerment and resident management of public housing. Following a review of the history of resident management in the United States, three different meanings of empowerment relevant to resident management (conservative, liberal, and progressive) are presented, and their relationship to resident management is introduced and discussed. It is argued that none of the versions of resident management associated with these meanings produces an empowered community. The article concludes with a discussion of the usefulness of resident management as a tool for improving the quality of life of public housing residents. (Author)
Housing Policy Debate