Public Housing:

Partnerships Can Result in Cost Savings and Other Benefits

RCED-97-11: Published: Oct 17, 1996. Publicly Released: Nov 18, 1996.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on partnerships and other business-like arrangements that public housing authorities (PHA) have made with public and private-sector groups to provide residents with needed services and to supplement traditional PHA funding sources, focusing on: (1) four types of such arrangements; and (2) PHA officials' views on the benefits of these arrangements.

GAO found that: (1) in its discussions with housing authorities, GAO found that to leverage their resources, enhance their ability to deliver services, and reduce their costs, they have established four basic types of partnerships or arrangements; (2) the authorities partnered and worked with: (a) other housing authorities to take advantage of economies of scale in purchasing items such as large appliances or in consolidating their management activities; (b) their residents and various community and nonprofit groups to provide social services such as health and child care, job training, and employment for residents; (c) state, local, and commercial entities to develop and finance affordable housing for low-income families; and (d) state and local governments to acquire goods and services such as insurance at lower costs; and (3) although about one-third of the officials at the housing authorities that GAO contacted could quantify the cost savings that have resulted from their partnerships, in general PHA officials who GAO contacted agreed that the nonmonetary benefits--including training, an improved quality of life, and certain social services--were significant and would not have been obtained without the shared experience of the partnership.

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