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The Iron Triangle of Affordable Homeownership: Habitat for Humanity Affiliate Strategies for Balancing Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Equity

, Teshanee Williams, Honey Minkowitz, Alexandra Lahoud

Abstract: While the public values of efficiency, effectiveness, and equity have been extensively studied in the public sector, very little research exists in the nonprofit context. In particular, we lack an understanding of what public values nonprofit leaders prioritize, why they prioritize certain public values over others, and how they balance or make tradeoffs between public values. Thirty-six Habitat for Humanity affiliate leaders from the United States were interviewed for this research. Interestingly, while the nonprofit leaders in the sample represent the same mission, they all prioritize different public values—though a plurality focuses on equity. We also found that the three primary challenges they perceive in achieving these public values relate to access, quality, and capacity. While Habitat leaders already apply strategies to deal with these challenges, we offer some additional suggestions for Habitat affiliates and similar affordable homeownership nonprofits to consider.
Keywords: public values / Habitat / affiliates / equity / Balancing / prioritize / leaders / nonprofit / Homeownership

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