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The SSRC Library allows visitors to access materials related to self-sufficiency programs, practice and research. Visitors can view common search terms, conduct a keyword search or create a custom search using any combination of the filters at the left side of this page. To conduct a keyword search, type a term or combination of terms into the search box below, select whether you want to search the exact phrase or the words in any order, and click on the blue button to the right of the search box to view relevant results.

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The SSRC Library collection is constantly growing and new research is added regularly. We welcome our users to submit a library item to help us grow our collection in response to your needs.


  • Individual Author: Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse
    Reference Type: SSRC Products
    Year: 2017

    This set of selections focuses on transportation and self-sufficiency. SSRC Selections highlight research, evaluation reports, and other publications that inform the field about key issues in, and effective practices for, fostering economic self-sufficiency.

    This set of selections focuses on transportation and self-sufficiency. SSRC Selections highlight research, evaluation reports, and other publications that inform the field about key issues in, and effective practices for, fostering economic self-sufficiency.

  • Individual Author: Arkin, Monica; Abdi, Fadumo
    Reference Type: SSRC Products
    Year: 2017

    Posted by Monica Arkin & Fadumo Abdi, Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse Staff

    Family homelessness is pervasive across the United States. During the 2012-2013 school year alone roughly one in every 39, or approximately 1.25 million children experienced homelessness. Based on recent demographic trends the typical homeless family consists of a young single mother with one or two young children who live “doubled up” in another family’s household. Factors commonly associated with family homelessness are domestic violence, persistent poverty, unemployment, lack of health...

    Posted by Monica Arkin & Fadumo Abdi, Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse Staff

    Family homelessness is pervasive across the United States. During the 2012-2013 school year alone roughly one in every 39, or approximately 1.25 million children experienced homelessness. Based on recent demographic trends the typical homeless family consists of a young single mother with one or two young children who live “doubled up” in another family’s household. Factors commonly associated with family homelessness are domestic violence, persistent poverty, unemployment, lack of health insurance, and insufficient aid from mainstream benefit programs. Minority families face additional risks for experiencing homelessness, such as institutionalized discrimination and multi-generational poverty, which are linked to disparities in employment, education, and access to quality housing. 
     

    While housing programs and models have been in existence and researched for many years, most have shown only short-term residential stability for families. Rapid rehousing, for example, has been used frequently as an intervention, but there is little evidence of its efficacy in providing long-term residential stability for families. Similarly, the use of permanent housing subsidies has shown promising results in short-term evaluations, but research highlighting long-term findings is not yet available.

    To affect lasting change, programs must recognize and address the multiple causes of homelessness, as well as the numerous barriers to becoming self-sufficient faced by homeless families. For some families, homelessness is episodic and can be solved with housing assistance alone. However, families may experience several types of long-term homelessness including chronic homelessness. This occurs when the family has been either homeless for over one year, or on four occasions within the three previous years, and the head of household has a disability, such as a serious mental illness, substance abuse, or developmental or physical disability that impairs self-sufficiency. Long-term homeless families, on the other hand, do not necessarily have a head of household with a disability, but have been homeless for over one year or on multiple occasions within the previous year. Long-term homelessness for these families is typically associated with multiple risk factors and cannot always be solved with housing alone. A report by the Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness (ICPH) on homeless families in New York City indicated common reasons that families became eligible for shelter were unemployment (over half of the families did not have a single employed household member), domestic violence (accounting for 26 percent of families who went to shelter), and family discord (accounting for 12 percent of families moving to shelter).

    Recently, there has been a shift toward a more holistic approach, supplementing housing assistance with other support services. One promising method is called Supportive Housing, which provides affordable housing along with intensive wrap-around services. Supportive housing services acknowledge that housing alone may not prevent homelessness by promoting self-sufficiency and family cohesion, often providing addiction recovery, education, and employment services. Keeping Families Together, a pilot initiative between 2007 and 2010, implemented a supportive housing approach in New York City with families that had been homeless for at least a year and had been involved with the child welfare system. The pilot showed many positive outcomes: child welfare involvement declined significantly among participating families, most families had no new abuse or neglect cases after receiving supportive housing, average school attendance improved, and six children were reunited with their families from foster care. 

    The positive findings from Keeping Families Together led policymakers to launch a federally funded demonstration grant to test the supportive housing model on a wider scale, understand the efficacy of the model, inform strategic use of limited resources, and measure return on investment. The Partnerships to Demonstrate the Effectiveness of Supportive Housing in the Child Welfare Systems multi-site demonstration launched in 2012 as a five-year program awarding four local and one statewide supportive housing pilot sites. Data is currently being collected for the national evaluation. Long-term findings from the multisite demonstration may add important longitudinal evidence to the efficacy of supportive housing in various communities across the nation.  

     
    The SSRC Library contains numerous reports and stakeholder resources about family homelessness, including:
    For more resources, check out the SSRC Library and subscribe to SSRC or follow us on Twitter to receive updates about upcoming events, new library materials on self-sufficiency topics of interest to you and more.
  • Individual Author: Abdi, Fadumo
    Reference Type: SSRC Products
    Year: 2017

    Posted by Fadumo Abdi, Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse Staff

    Housing First is a consumer-driven approach to addressing homelessness that centers on providing homeless people with housing quickly and then providing additional support services as needed. This immediate focus on helping individuals and families access and sustain permanent housing solutions is what differentiates the approach from other homelessness strategies. The primary focus on securing stable and permanent housing first is consistent with what...

    Posted by Fadumo Abdi, Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse Staff

    Housing First is a consumer-driven approach to addressing homelessness that centers on providing homeless people with housing quickly and then providing additional support services as needed. This immediate focus on helping individuals and families access and sustain permanent housing solutions is what differentiates the approach from other homelessness strategies. The primary focus on securing stable and permanent housing first is consistent with what individuals and families experiencing homelessness want to achieve when they initially seek services.

    Programs modeled from the Housing First approach share critical elements, including:

    • A focus on helping individuals and families access permanent rental housing as quickly as possible;
    • A variety of supportive services are delivered to promote housing stability and individual well-being on an as-needed and entirely voluntary basis; and
    • A standard lease agreement to housing – as opposed to mandated services compliance.

    For example, Pathways to Housing, the first Housing First program of its kind, was designed to end homelessness and support recovery for individuals with severe psychiatric disabilities and co-occurring substance use disorders by emphasizing consumer choice, psychiatric rehabilitation, and harm reduction. The program addresses homeless individuals’ needs from a consumer perspective which encourages consumers to define their own needs and set clear recovery goals coupled with intensive case management services to provide access to identified services without prerequisites for psychiatric treatment or sobriety. The consumer-centered approach highlighted in Pathways to Housing and other Housing First models is in contrast to other housing assistance models that condition the provision of housing based on participation and compliance with behavioral health, substance treatment, and/or work training program requirements. Other target populations served through the Housing First approach have included homeless families who are experiencing persistent poverty, unemployment, child welfare involvement, or domestic violence.

    Unlike its predecessors, Housing First assumes stable housing must be established before an individual can begin to work toward improving their mental health, financial stability, and self-sufficiency. Research has found that by providing homeless people with immediate housing without prerequisites of participation in treatment services, they were more likely to stay housed for longer and less likely to return to homelessness. Similarly, giving clients the choice of which supportive services they need has also been found to result in reduced psychiatric symptoms and substance use among participants.

    Consistent with the consumer choice perspective that underscores the Housing First approach, there is some variability in the supportive services programming offered to clients even when focusing on the same sub-population. For example, a 12-month evaluation of three programs using Housing First approach to serve homeless individuals with mental illnesses found that clients of all three programs demonstrated positive outcomes relative to sustained housing, increased earnings, and improved symptoms, but varied in terms of housing tenure and support services offered. Programs outlined in the study utilized several successful strategies for the delivery of services including housing-based case managers or daily home visits by coordinators available on a 24/7 basis. Housing inventory also varied by program with some scattering properties among available private apartments and housing facilities stock while other programs solely own properties used for program participants. The ways in which the three programs implemented the Housing First model presented unique success and challenges. For example, the program which owns the housing units is able to provide more client supervision, but this can limit client integration into the broader community. Although each program took different approaches to implementation, each ultimately achieved positive outcomes for the individuals served.

    As more research is conducted on the effects of the Housing First approach, findings suggest programs that adhere to the Housing First’s core elements of unconditional, immediate housing and choice of services demonstrate positive outcomes. With a growing recognition of the Housing First approach some practitioners have begun to describe it as a whole-system orientation and response to the problem of homelessness. This holistic orientation is influencing how communities across the country respond to the persistent challenges posed by homelessness particularly among those with complex needs. For example, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has funded a study to assess the effects of five programs using the Housing First model for high need families. The evaluation targets families in the child welfare system struggling with substance use, mental health issues, and unstable housing. Through the study, the program hopes to determine its ability to provide trauma-informed care, develop working relationships with local housing agencies, and capacity to connect families to community resources. Continued research and practice evidence will serve as helpful resource guides and implementation toolkits for the future as more communities implement a Housing First approach to address the myriad challenges of homeless individuals and families with the greatest needs.

    Learn more about the Housing First model in the SSRC Library:

    For more resources, check out the SSRC Library and subscribe to the SSRC or follow us on Twitter to receive updates about upcoming events, new library materials on self-sufficiency topics of interest to you and more.

  • Individual Author: Abdi, Fadumo; Lantos, Hannah
    Reference Type: SSRC Products
    Year: 2017

    Posted by Fadumo Abdi and Hannah Lantos, Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse Staff

    Disconnected youth are broadly defined as individuals between the ages of 16 and 24 who are neither in school nor working. Some, including those that are more likely to be chronically disconnected, may face additional challenges as a result of complicated risk factors such as poor mental...

    Posted by Fadumo Abdi and Hannah Lantos, Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse Staff

    Disconnected youth are broadly defined as individuals between the ages of 16 and 24 who are neither in school nor working. Some, including those that are more likely to be chronically disconnected, may face additional challenges as a result of complicated risk factors such as poor mental health, a history of involvement with the juvenile justice system or familial incarceration, being a member of a minority group, low academic achievement, or family poverty. The combination of these factors create barriers for youth to connect to education or, without education credentials, find employment, which further impedes their path to a self-sufficient adulthood.

    It is currently estimated that there are between 5.5 and 6.7 million youth who are neither working nor in school. This represents approximately 15 to 17 percent of the American youth population. Minorities, particularly minority males, are overrepresented among disconnected youth. Currently, the policy and practice literature doesn’t provide a universal definition of disconnected youth that is inclusive of the diverse population making estimations of the numbers of youth impacted by disconnection difficult. Youth who belong to other groups such as the LGBTQ population, youth who are aging out of foster care or have left the system, and youth who have been engaged with the juvenile justice system. Youth who are a part of these groups are vulnerable, at-risk for, or already disconnected and are more likely to experience more complex obstacles when transitioning towards self-sufficiency.

    Traditional indicators of a successful transition to adulthood have included career development, marriage, and parenthood. In the past three decades, these indicators of transition to adulthood have changed over time. Youth have shifted from early participation in the workforce to prolonged enrollment in higher education. Changes in the labor market, such as increased labor-saving technology, and the increasing prevalence of jobs that require a higher level skill set have made it difficult for youth to reach their long term career goals without higher education. The Great Recession of 2007 resulted in widespread increases in unemployment that was more severe for vulnerable populations including youth. Due to these social and workforce shifts, disconnected youth have found it more difficult to achieve self-sufficiency in the face of high unemployment.

    There are a number of initiatives underway that aim to help disconnected youth make a successful transition to adulthood. These programs take into account both the highly complex needs of disconnected youth and their importance to the economy. Intervention and prevention programs aimed at connecting youth to opportunity take four forms: (1) workforce development and skill building programs, (2) behavioral programs that work to prevent disconnection, (3) comprehensive programs which address social support needs and job training, and (4) early prevention programs that aim to re-engage adolescents who have dropped out of school or are at-risk of early drop out by providing counseling, helping to develop social and cognitive skills, and providing academic support services.

    Workforce development programs may vary depending on their target population and the specific outcomes to be achieved but typically includes career development opportunities for high schools students, combine education with vocational training, or target older youth with a greater focus on skills development. There is also a growing recognition that behavioral and mental health issues should be addressed alongside skill building and higher education attainment in order for disconnected youth to be successful long-term. In addition, employers and workforce programs have come to realize the importance of soft skills development, such as communication skills, conflict resolution, and self-regulation, for youth entering the workforce.

    Despite the broad scope of youth disconnection, researchers and practitioners have used common characteristics to describe this population, such as age, educational attainment, length of unemployment, or the socio-economic costs of youth disconnection to identify key factors that may alleviate challenges associated with the highly complex nature of youth disconnection. More evidence on youth disconnection is available now than at any other time in our history which helps to facilitate greater understanding of the challenges disconnected youth face, the extent of youth disconnection locally and nationally, and ultimately the development of better strategies to serve them.

    The SSRC library contains numerous resources and evaluations related to disconnected youth, including:

    For more resources, check out the SSRC Library and subscribe to the SSRC or follow us on Twitter to receive updates about upcoming events, new library materials on self-sufficiency topics of interest to you and more.

  • Individual Author: Wright, Nicole
    Reference Type: SSRC Products
    Year: 2017

    Posted by Nicole Wright, Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse Staff

    Reliable transportation has long been considered an integral part of achieving economic self-sufficiency. The advent of urban sprawl and the movement of high-demand jobs and growing job sectors into suburban areas has made access to affordable public and private transportation a critical element of finding, attaining, and retaining jobs. Affordability and access issues across transportation types, both public and private (car ownership), have been associated with financial and commuting time burdens that are prohibitive for very low-income families, including paying for gas, insurance, and car maintenance and/or long public transit waits, cumbersome and time-consuming...

    Posted by Nicole Wright, Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse Staff

    Reliable transportation has long been considered an integral part of achieving economic self-sufficiency. The advent of urban sprawl and the movement of high-demand jobs and growing job sectors into suburban areas has made access to affordable public and private transportation a critical element of finding, attaining, and retaining jobs. Affordability and access issues across transportation types, both public and private (car ownership), have been associated with financial and commuting time burdens that are prohibitive for very low-income families, including paying for gas, insurance, and car maintenance and/or long public transit waits, cumbersome and time-consuming transfers, and infrequent service during off-peak hours. Research has shown that upward mobility is in fact higher in cities with “less sprawl, as measured by commute times to work.” Conversely, “areas with greater economic and racial segregation, which might make job searches and commuting more difficult for residents of poor regions” tend to have lower income mobility. For this reason, research, practice, and policy in this field have largely centered on helping families overcome these barriers.  

    One of the key trends in transportation research is the study of spatial mismatch and how to overcome it. Although the spatial mismatch hypothesis was first proposed in the late 1960s, it continues to be relevant to policy and practice today. It originally posited that “serious limitations on black residential choice, combined with the steady dispersal of jobs from central cities, are responsible for the low rates of employment and low earnings of African-American workers.” In the context of transportation, this means that the geographic distance between low-income households and where employment opportunities are available must be bridged by affordable transportation options for individuals to have a means of retaining steady employment. This is especially true in light of a 2012 study that found that the “suburbanization of jobs” prevents transit from connecting workers to opportunity in local labor pools. The study ultimately found that the “typical job” is accessible to only 27 percent of a metropolitan workforce in 90 minutes or less via transit.

    Efforts to mitigate spatial mismatch through policy and practice have led to a debate between public and private transit solutions. Many studies have framed this discussion as one of public transportation access programs versus car ownership programs. Multiple studies have suggested car ownership as the more effective option. This is likely, in part, due to the increasing need for individuals living in urban centers to make a “reverse commute.” The reverse commute, defined as the commute from inner city residential locations to employment opportunities found in the suburbs, often requires private transportation due to a lack of public transportation in suburban areas. However, not all research has shown benefits to car ownership programs. A 2015 study found that although improving automobile access is associated with a decreased probability of future unemployment and greater income gains, the costs of owning and maintaining a car may be greater than the associated gains in income.

    Despite the difficulty many people have accessing and affording reliable transportation, one 2014 study, Getting around when you’re just getting by: Transportation survival strategies of the poor, reveals certain “survival strategies” used by low-income families to manage the expense. The authors found that most low-income households are concerned about transportation expenditure, and as a result, carefully evaluate the cost of travel against the benefits of each possible mode of transportation. These strategies include: modifications to travel behavior, cost-covering strategies, careful management of household expenditures, and reductions in discretionary spending. This study concluded that many of these strategies create additional hardship for low-income families. The findings serve to highlight the importance of helping families access transportation that not only bridges the gap to needed services and employment opportunities, but also fits the unique situation of each family. Other studies such as this one have repeatedly shown how crucial transportation access is to self-sufficiency. It is an issue that continues to grow in importance and a barrier that must be broken to create paths out of poverty for families across the country.

    Learn More About Transportation From the SSRC- The Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse library contains numerous articles, reports, and stakeholder resources on transportation and its links to self-sufficiency, including: 

    For more resources, check out the SSRC Library and subscribe to SSRC or follow us on Twitter to receive updates about upcoming events, new library materials on self-sufficiency topics of interest to you and more. 

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