This article tracks historically the direct connection and shifting relationship between the larger political economy, the extent and arrangement of financing, and agency programming in the settlement house from 1886 to the present, with particular attention to agency experience in New York City. During this time the settlements changed from being informal organizations oriented to service provision and community building, in which funding was a highly private matter, to formalized, multiservice agencies dependent on contracted public funds for categorical programs. This transformation resulted not as a linear progression of organizational development but rather as an historical process tied to shifting patterns of political economy and voluntary sector financing.

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