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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: Cable, Dustin A.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2013

    The Virginia Poverty Measure (VPM) was developed to give policy makers, program providers, and the public a more contemporary and accurate picture of the Virginia population in economic distress. To do so, this work follows many of the recommendations from the National Academy of Sciences seminal 1995 report Measuring Poverty: A New Approach, which outlines improvements to be made in the United States official poverty measure. Specifically, in contrast to the official national poverty measure, the Virginia Poverty Measure includes (1) regional differences in the cost of living; (2) updated thresholds that account for a broader array of goods, and reflect the consumption patterns of contemporary American families; and (3) a broader definition of income and resources that better captures the true financial circumstances of Virginians. (Author abstract)

    The Virginia Poverty Measure (VPM) was developed to give policy makers, program providers, and the public a more contemporary and accurate picture of the Virginia population in economic distress. To do so, this work follows many of the recommendations from the National Academy of Sciences seminal 1995 report Measuring Poverty: A New Approach, which outlines improvements to be made in the United States official poverty measure. Specifically, in contrast to the official national poverty measure, the Virginia Poverty Measure includes (1) regional differences in the cost of living; (2) updated thresholds that account for a broader array of goods, and reflect the consumption patterns of contemporary American families; and (3) a broader definition of income and resources that better captures the true financial circumstances of Virginians. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Mills, Gregory; Lam, Ken; DeMarco, Donna; Rodger, Christopher; Kaul, Bulbul
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2008

    This study represents the impact study component of the AFI evaluation. It examines the effects of AFI participation on the three forms of asset building targeted by the AFI Program: homeownership, business ownership, and postsecondary education. The analysis also assesses the program’s impact on key components of net worth (financial assets, home equity, and consumer debt) and on employment status and income (whether employed, amount of monthly earnings, and receipt of means-tested benefits from cash assistance, food stamps, or Medicaid). The process study component of the evaluation explores how various AFI projects are planned, implemented, and operated.1 (author abstract) 

    This study represents the impact study component of the AFI evaluation. It examines the effects of AFI participation on the three forms of asset building targeted by the AFI Program: homeownership, business ownership, and postsecondary education. The analysis also assesses the program’s impact on key components of net worth (financial assets, home equity, and consumer debt) and on employment status and income (whether employed, amount of monthly earnings, and receipt of means-tested benefits from cash assistance, food stamps, or Medicaid). The process study component of the evaluation explores how various AFI projects are planned, implemented, and operated.1 (author abstract) 

  • Individual Author: Mills, Gregory; Ciurea, Michelle; DeMarco, Donna
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2008

    This report provides key findings from case studies developed on 14 Assets for Independence (AFI)-funded individual development account (IDA) projects. IDAs are personal savings accounts targeted to low-income persons that encourage participants to save for specific types of assets by providing matching funds when the accountholder makes withdrawals for an allowable asset purchase. The rationale for IDAs lies in the proposition that income transfers have eased the hardship of the poor but have been less effective in enabling low-income families to become economically self-sufficient. An alternative view that emerged in the early 1990s was that to promote economic advancement and self-sufficiency—as well as to encourage socially positive behaviors—policies should focus on asset accumulation, in combination with income support. The AFI Act calls for an evaluation of AFI projects to be carried out by an independent research organization under contract to HHS. The evaluation is to analyze the effects of incentives and services on participant savings; the extent to which participant...

    This report provides key findings from case studies developed on 14 Assets for Independence (AFI)-funded individual development account (IDA) projects. IDAs are personal savings accounts targeted to low-income persons that encourage participants to save for specific types of assets by providing matching funds when the accountholder makes withdrawals for an allowable asset purchase. The rationale for IDAs lies in the proposition that income transfers have eased the hardship of the poor but have been less effective in enabling low-income families to become economically self-sufficient. An alternative view that emerged in the early 1990s was that to promote economic advancement and self-sufficiency—as well as to encourage socially positive behaviors—policies should focus on asset accumulation, in combination with income support. The AFI Act calls for an evaluation of AFI projects to be carried out by an independent research organization under contract to HHS. The evaluation is to analyze the effects of incentives and services on participant savings; the extent to which participant savings vary by demographic; the economic, civic, psychological and social effects of savings; the effects of project participation on savings rates, homeownership, postsecondary educational attainment, and self-employment; the potential financial returns from IDAs to the Federal government and other public and private sector investors over a 5-year and 10-year period of time; and the lessons learned from the demonstration project and whether an IDA program should become permanent. The Act specifies further that the evaluation is to utilize a control group to compare AFI project participants with nonparticipants, and to utilize both quantitative and qualitative data. A final evaluation is to be completed within one year following the conclusion of all AFI projects funded under the Act. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Holcomb, Pamela A.; Pavetti, LaDonna; Ratcliffe, Caroline; Riedinger, Susan
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1998

    In order to encourage and stimulate the cross-fertilization of ideas across states, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services asked the Urban Institute to document key practices and strategies states have used thus far to make their welfare systems more employment focused, particularly with respect to strategies emphasizing quick entry into the labor market. Six local sites in five states were selected for intensive examination:

    Indiana: Indianapolis (pop. 817,604) and Scottsburg (pop. 22,528)

    Massachusetts: Worcester (pop. 718,858)

    Oregon: Portland (pop. 614,104)

    Virginia: Culpeper (pop. 30,528)

    Wisconsin: Racine (pop. 182,982)

    These states were chosen for in-depth analysis because they exemplify a mix of different strategies to achieve the common goal of increasing employment among welfare recipients. The states vary in terms of the average cash payment they provide recipients—Indiana and Virginia are fairly low grant states while Massachusetts, Oregon and Wisconsin provide relatively high grants.

    In recent years, all of...

    In order to encourage and stimulate the cross-fertilization of ideas across states, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services asked the Urban Institute to document key practices and strategies states have used thus far to make their welfare systems more employment focused, particularly with respect to strategies emphasizing quick entry into the labor market. Six local sites in five states were selected for intensive examination:

    Indiana: Indianapolis (pop. 817,604) and Scottsburg (pop. 22,528)

    Massachusetts: Worcester (pop. 718,858)

    Oregon: Portland (pop. 614,104)

    Virginia: Culpeper (pop. 30,528)

    Wisconsin: Racine (pop. 182,982)

    These states were chosen for in-depth analysis because they exemplify a mix of different strategies to achieve the common goal of increasing employment among welfare recipients. The states vary in terms of the average cash payment they provide recipients—Indiana and Virginia are fairly low grant states while Massachusetts, Oregon and Wisconsin provide relatively high grants.

    In recent years, all of the study states have experienced significant declines in their cash assistance caseloads that are well above the national average, low unemployment and strong economies.

    Work-oriented reforms in place at the time of this study were implemented at different points between 1993 and 1996. Since the passage of PRWORA, Indiana and Wisconsin both implemented new work-oriented reforms while Virginia, Massachusetts, and Oregon have made few changes.

    Thus, while this study captures state experiences at one point in time, it also reflects states at different stages in their own evolution toward a more employment focused welfare system. It is also important to note that this study took place too soon after TANF went into effect to fully capture the implications and impact of the new federal welfare reform law (e.g., progressively steeper participation rate requirements, lifetime limit on benefit receipt). (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Brock, Thomas; Jenkins, Davis; Ellwein, Todd; Miller, Jennifer; Gooden, Susan; Martin, Kasey; MacGregor, Casey; Pih, Michael; Miller, Bethany; Geckeler, Christian
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2007

    In 2003, Lumina Foundation for Education launched a bold, multiyear, national initiative called Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count, to help students stay in school and succeed. The initiative is focused particularly on students who have faced the most barriers to success, including low-income students and students of color. Initially, 27 community colleges in five states joined the initiative; there are now 82 institutions in 15 states.

    Participating colleges commit to collecting and analyzing data to improve student outcomes — a process known as “building a culture of evidence.” Specifically, colleges mine transcripts and gather other information to understand how students are faring over time and which groups need the most assistance. From this work, colleges implement strategies to improve academic outcomes. Colleges evaluate their strategies, expand effective ones, and use data to guide budgeting and other institutional decisions. Participating colleges receive a $50,000 planning grant followed by a four-year, $400,000 implementation grant, along...

    In 2003, Lumina Foundation for Education launched a bold, multiyear, national initiative called Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count, to help students stay in school and succeed. The initiative is focused particularly on students who have faced the most barriers to success, including low-income students and students of color. Initially, 27 community colleges in five states joined the initiative; there are now 82 institutions in 15 states.

    Participating colleges commit to collecting and analyzing data to improve student outcomes — a process known as “building a culture of evidence.” Specifically, colleges mine transcripts and gather other information to understand how students are faring over time and which groups need the most assistance. From this work, colleges implement strategies to improve academic outcomes. Colleges evaluate their strategies, expand effective ones, and use data to guide budgeting and other institutional decisions. Participating colleges receive a $50,000 planning grant followed by a four-year, $400,000 implementation grant, along with assistance from expert advisers hired by the initiative. This report describes the progress that the first 27 colleges have made after planning and one year of implementation. (author introduction)

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