Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Cassandra Caldwell


Nonprofit organizations often work in partnership with government agencies to empower low income people in the housing market through government subsidized mortgage loans. In spite of this assistance, homelessness and substandard housing is pervasive among low income households because this population primarily relies on the rental housing market, leaving a gap in practice and knowledge related to how nonprofits provide assistance to the overwhelming majority of low income consumers in need of housing. The purpose of this case study was to use social justice theory to explore how the nonprofit sector, as an economic force, provides assistance to and empowers low income consumers in acquiring federally subsidized housing in the Louisville housing market. Data were collected from documents from nonprofit housing organizations and 5 interviews with directors of nonprofit organizations whose principal mission is to assist low income people acquire housing. Data were inductively coded and organized around key themes and ideas. Key findings of this study indicated that these 5 leaders perceived a certain degree of empowerment among low income individuals; they also perceived that rental subsidies and public housing were viewed by consumers as entitlements. However, the organizations' housing units were not being managed as landed capital asset that could be occupied on various negotiable lease terms, as in the housing market, for empowering low income people to ensure social justice. These findings suggest that positive social change may be encouraged if nonprofit housing organizations engage in social entrepreneurial leaseholds to complement the public policy and empower low-income households.