Professor Langley Keyes is working on a research agenda that has as its central theme the building of networks among organizations involved in housing and human services. The inquiry is concerned with understanding what brings organizations together to play supportive roles with one another, the kinds of linkages that these organizations make and how they sustain them over time. The context of welfare reform and the devolution of responsibility for social service provision to nonprofit organizations have made institutional connections even more crucial to assuring that the diverse needs of community residents are met.
Recent work with Professor Rachel Bratt of Tufts University probes efforts undertaken by housing sponsors concerned with family self-sufficiency that develop networks with other organizations to carry out their work. In a related project, Masters' and Ph.D. Students have joined Keyes and a local nonprofit housing provider, the Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership. The research team has worked with nonprofit's staff to develop its relations with other organizations so as to connect its clients with employment opportunities. Their efforts have focused on the increasing capacity for shared information gathering and analysis and mechanisms to enhance appreciation of the mutual interests in what were previously conceived as disparate service objectives.
Keyes also leads a study of the twenty-three cities receiving National Community Development Initiative funds for CDCs. Funded by the Urban Institute, the study compares the development system in each of the cities in order to understand what makes relationships among community actors and agencies succeed or falter.