Eric Burmeister shares Insights

Leap of Reason - Mario Morino

Eric Burmeister shares Insights

At a NeighborWorks America symposium last month, I had the privilege of hearing Mario Morino, author of Leap of Reason: Managing to Outcomes in an Era of Scarcity.  Morino’s title says it all; it is possible to achieve better results with less money.  For an industry that believes one more dollar will yield one more dollar’s worth of results that IS truly a “leap of reason.”

In front of a group of affordable housing and neighborhood redevelopment professionals Morino spoke the obvious.  There WILL be less money, the need WILL increase and funders WILL insist on PROVABLE long-term outcomes.  The days of merely counting clients through the door are gone.  Competition for limited resources will reward those programs that produce the best long-term outcomes at the least cost.

Morino identified data collection and analysis as a weak spot in our work.  He indicated common measurement metrics need to be developed in each community and that community funds need to follow those metrics.  As the comprehensive planning, advocacy and funding organization for Affordable Housing in Polk County, the Polk County Housing Trust Fund needs to explore and adopt Morino’s best ideas.  Over the next year staff will begin to assess and summarize those ideas so the Housing Trust Fund Board can have serious discussions about the Housing Trust Fund’s role in the community.  This will provide the framework to discuss needed outcomes and the cost to realize them.  We will involve other affordable housing funders and encourage them to do the same.  If we are to achieve our vision we must adapt and adopt new strategies that are consistent with the changed times.