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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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  • Individual Author: Regenstein, Marsha; Meyer, Jack A.; Hicks, Jennifer Dickemper
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1998

    While much of the welfare reform debate has centered on the supply side of the labor market-how to motivate welfare recipients to search for and take jobs-less attention has been paid to the demand side. Under what conditions will employers hire people on welfare? What are their requirements and expectations? What kinds of jobs are available to people leaving welfare, and what pay and benefits are offered?

    This brief presents the key results of a nationwide survey conducted by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) as part of the Assessing the New Federalism project to determine employers' attitudes about hiring welfare recipients. The survey was predicated on the idea that if states have a better understanding of employers' attitudes and requirements, they will be better able to design successful approaches to moving people into jobs and helping them stay there.

    The survey included 500 businesses at the establishment level (e.g., individual stores, plants, or offices) in industries likely to have higher-than-average numbers of entry-level...

    While much of the welfare reform debate has centered on the supply side of the labor market-how to motivate welfare recipients to search for and take jobs-less attention has been paid to the demand side. Under what conditions will employers hire people on welfare? What are their requirements and expectations? What kinds of jobs are available to people leaving welfare, and what pay and benefits are offered?

    This brief presents the key results of a nationwide survey conducted by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) as part of the Assessing the New Federalism project to determine employers' attitudes about hiring welfare recipients. The survey was predicated on the idea that if states have a better understanding of employers' attitudes and requirements, they will be better able to design successful approaches to moving people into jobs and helping them stay there.

    The survey included 500 businesses at the establishment level (e.g., individual stores, plants, or offices) in industries likely to have higher-than-average numbers of entry-level workers. The ESRI sample consists mostly of small employers with fewer than 50 workers. In order to gain insight into any potential differences in attitudes among establishments of different sizes, however, we oversampled those with 100 or more employees.

    We conducted an additional 200 interviews-100 each in Los Angeles and Milwaukee-to see how these two cities might differ from national responses. Both of these cities have large welfare populations. Milwaukee is considered a national leader in innovative welfare-to-work initiatives, while Los Angeles is a large urban area with a diverse population that includes many immigrants.

    Prior to undertaking the large national survey, we conducted a small exploratory telephone survey of 25 employers. Their responses, emerging from in-depth discussions, were very similar to the findings in the national sample. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Burt, Martha R.; Pindus, Nancy M.; Capizzano, Jeffrey
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    This paper focuses on the ways in which the varied programs and services that comprised this social safety net worked for low-income families with children in late 1996 and early 1997, just before implementation of major federal welfare reforms. By "worked," we mean how easy or difficult it would have been for families on welfare—and for nonwelfare, working poor families—to get the services they needed from safety net programs. The crux of this issue lies in local service structures and the avenues they provide for client access to needed programs. A particularly important dimension of client access is whether the programs most likely to be approached by nonwelfare, working poor families are as well structured to help clients make connections to other needed services as are the programs most commonly used by clients on welfare.

    Our inquiry into local service delivery structures is grounded in the context of state choices and organizational structure. The paper begins with an overview of poverty and safety net program use in the 13 states that were the subject of intensive...

    This paper focuses on the ways in which the varied programs and services that comprised this social safety net worked for low-income families with children in late 1996 and early 1997, just before implementation of major federal welfare reforms. By "worked," we mean how easy or difficult it would have been for families on welfare—and for nonwelfare, working poor families—to get the services they needed from safety net programs. The crux of this issue lies in local service structures and the avenues they provide for client access to needed programs. A particularly important dimension of client access is whether the programs most likely to be approached by nonwelfare, working poor families are as well structured to help clients make connections to other needed services as are the programs most commonly used by clients on welfare.

    Our inquiry into local service delivery structures is grounded in the context of state choices and organizational structure. The paper begins with an overview of poverty and safety net program use in the 13 states that were the subject of intensive case studies during 1996 and 1997 as part of the Urban Institute's Assessing the New Federalism (ANF) project. Thereafter we look at where programs of interest are located in the state organizational structure, and the degree to which state control or local autonomy prevails in administering programs at the local level.

    Once the state context is understood, the paper shifts to the local level and the client perspective. It looks at access to services for welfare and nonwelfare families and asks whether differences in state organizational arrangements make a difference for clients' ability to access an array of services through local programs. It establishes a baseline in 1996-1997, describing the linkages as they existed in the 13 ANF intensive case study states. Against the background of this baseline, data being collected for the 1999-2000 wave of case studies will let us see how much PRWORA has changed the landscape of safety net programs.

    This paper focuses on specific elements of the social safety net, including income support programs such as AFDC, TANF, general assistance (GA),2 and food stamps; Job Opportunities and Basic Skills (JOBS) and other non-welfare-specific employment and training programs; the child support system; child care assistance; child welfare services; and Medicaid and other publicly supported health insurance for low-income families. These programs were selected for several reasons, including their historic linkages and their anticipated linkages under TANF. Historically, families receiving AFDC have been categorically eligible for Medicaid, and many states developed combined application procedures for AFDC, Medicaid, and food stamps. JOBS is specifically a work-readiness program for AFDC recipients, and states have been obliged to provide child care for any AFDC recipients required to participate in JOBS. Medicaid and child care have also been important transitional benefits to which many families leaving welfare were entitled for specified periods of time. PRWORA changed the relationships among these programs, in some instances delinking them and in others increasing the support requirements for current and former TANF recipients. (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Buron, Larry; Nolden, Sandra; Heintzi, Kathleen; Stewart, Julie
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    Created by the Tax Reform Act of 1986, the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program is the primary affordable housing production program in the U.S. This study explores the social and economic characteristics of LIHTC residents and the neighborhoods in which these properties are located. It is intended to provide both new information on who is served by the tax credit program and to explore tenant and project characteristics in relation to the neighborhoods where the properties are developed.

    The findings of this report are based on a sample of LIHTC properties placed in service between 1992 and 1994 in five MSAs: Boston, Kansas City, Miami, Milwaukee, and Oakland. In total, 39 properties are included in the study with between six and nine properties in each MSA. Properties with fewer than 10 units, FmHA Section 515 projects, and projects serving special needs populations were not included in the study. The properties were selected to include a relatively even share of both for-profit and nonprofit-sponsored properties in each MSA (however, the results were weighted...

    Created by the Tax Reform Act of 1986, the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program is the primary affordable housing production program in the U.S. This study explores the social and economic characteristics of LIHTC residents and the neighborhoods in which these properties are located. It is intended to provide both new information on who is served by the tax credit program and to explore tenant and project characteristics in relation to the neighborhoods where the properties are developed.

    The findings of this report are based on a sample of LIHTC properties placed in service between 1992 and 1994 in five MSAs: Boston, Kansas City, Miami, Milwaukee, and Oakland. In total, 39 properties are included in the study with between six and nine properties in each MSA. Properties with fewer than 10 units, FmHA Section 515 projects, and projects serving special needs populations were not included in the study. The properties were selected to include a relatively even share of both for-profit and nonprofit-sponsored properties in each MSA (however, the results were weighted to reflect all eligible properties in the five study MSAs). Data collection included field visits and interviews with site managers and owners of each property and a telephone survey of 832 residents in the study properties. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Isaacs, Julia B.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2001

    As large numbers of recipients leave the welfare rolls, interest in their circumstances is widespread. Are individuals working? Are they and their families
    moving out of poverty? How are their children faring? Do they continue to need and receive assistance through other programs? To answer these questions, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), awarded $2.9 million in grants in
    fiscal year 1998 to fourteen states and large counties to track and monitor outcomes among families leaving welfare.1 Funded out of a special congressional appropriation, these grants were designed to collect data documenting what was happening to poor families after the sweeping changes in welfare legislation. This chapter provides an overview of the design of the ASPE-funded leavers studies and reviews major cross-study findings in three areas: employment, program participation, and household income. In each area, the chapter discusses how data from administrative records are enriched by the more detailed...

    As large numbers of recipients leave the welfare rolls, interest in their circumstances is widespread. Are individuals working? Are they and their families
    moving out of poverty? How are their children faring? Do they continue to need and receive assistance through other programs? To answer these questions, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), awarded $2.9 million in grants in
    fiscal year 1998 to fourteen states and large counties to track and monitor outcomes among families leaving welfare.1 Funded out of a special congressional appropriation, these grants were designed to collect data documenting what was happening to poor families after the sweeping changes in welfare legislation. This chapter provides an overview of the design of the ASPE-funded leavers studies and reviews major cross-study findings in three areas: employment, program participation, and household income. In each area, the chapter discusses how data from administrative records are enriched by the more detailed findings emerging from surveys of former recipients. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Ciurea, Michelle; Blain, Alexandra; DeMarco, Donna; Ly, Hong; Mills, Gregory
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    This report describes the activities undertaken during Phase I of the congressionally-mandated evaluation of the Assets for Independence Act (AFIA), which Abt Associates is conducting under contract to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Act provides grants to qualified organizations to establish individual development accounts (IDAs) for low-income individuals. The savings deposited into these accounts are matched, through a combination of federal and nonfederal funds, when program participants withdraw their savings for home purchase, business capitalization, and postsecondary education.

    During the Phase I period, October 2000 through September 2001, significant progress occurred in the two components of the evaluation, the non-experimental impact study and the process study:

    • Non-experimental impact study: This research includes a multi-wave longitudinal survey of a randomly selected national sample of 600 AFIA program participants to assess the effects of program participation on low-income savings, asset accumulation, and other aspects of...

    This report describes the activities undertaken during Phase I of the congressionally-mandated evaluation of the Assets for Independence Act (AFIA), which Abt Associates is conducting under contract to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Act provides grants to qualified organizations to establish individual development accounts (IDAs) for low-income individuals. The savings deposited into these accounts are matched, through a combination of federal and nonfederal funds, when program participants withdraw their savings for home purchase, business capitalization, and postsecondary education.

    During the Phase I period, October 2000 through September 2001, significant progress occurred in the two components of the evaluation, the non-experimental impact study and the process study:

    • Non-experimental impact study: This research includes a multi-wave longitudinal survey of a randomly selected national sample of 600 AFIA program participants to assess the effects of program participation on low-income savings, asset accumulation, and other aspects of family well-being. The participant outcomes will be measured versus a comparison group of AFIA-eligible nonparticipants, using data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. During Phase I, clearance from the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) was obtained for the survey of AFIA program participants.
    • Process study: This research includes site visits each year by Abt Associates staff to five or six selected AFIA programs. During these visits, interviews are conducted with program coordinators, program associates, and representatives of financial institutions to understand how programs have been implemented, how they operate, and how program features may affect participant outcomes. During Phase I, visits were conducted to five IDA programs that received AFIA funding through the initial (Fiscal Year 1999) program grants. (author introduction)

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