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  • Individual Author: Brock, Thomas ; Doolittle, Fred ; Fellerath, Veronica ; Wiseman, Michael ; Greenberg, David; Hollister, Robinson Jr.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1997

    At this time of national debate about the best way to promote and reward work among low-income people, Milwaukee's New Hope Demonstration provides an unusual learning opportunity. With its goals of increasing employment, reducing poverty, and reducing receipt of welfare, New Hope is an ambitious undertaking. It seeks to achieve these goals through a simple offer: Participants who work full time (defined as an average of 30 hours per week) are assured of earnings above poverty, access to subsidized child care and health insurance (if needed), and a paid community service job if they are unable to find unsubsidized employment. This mix of work-conditioned incentives and services makes New Hope unique among the tests of reforms under way today. The Board and staff of New Hope are unusual, too, in having committed themselves from the very beginning to a rigorous research agenda, believing that for their project to influence national policy, it would have to be studied seriously.

    The program is operated by a community-based organization, the New Hope Project, outside the...

    At this time of national debate about the best way to promote and reward work among low-income people, Milwaukee's New Hope Demonstration provides an unusual learning opportunity. With its goals of increasing employment, reducing poverty, and reducing receipt of welfare, New Hope is an ambitious undertaking. It seeks to achieve these goals through a simple offer: Participants who work full time (defined as an average of 30 hours per week) are assured of earnings above poverty, access to subsidized child care and health insurance (if needed), and a paid community service job if they are unable to find unsubsidized employment. This mix of work-conditioned incentives and services makes New Hope unique among the tests of reforms under way today. The Board and staff of New Hope are unusual, too, in having committed themselves from the very beginning to a rigorous research agenda, believing that for their project to influence national policy, it would have to be studied seriously.

    The program is operated by a community-based organization, the New Hope Project, outside the traditional public assistance system. During the demonstration, the program is operating in two low-income areas of Milwaukee. Eligibility is based solely on income and a willingness to work full time, without any requirement that there be a single parent or even any children present in the household, as has been common in many welfare programs. At entry into the program, approximately 70 percent of New Hope participants lived in households with children, and 63 percent were receiving some type of public assistance.

    This report, the first major product of the evaluation, presents findings on New Hope's context, design, and implementation. A future report will present findings on the program's impacts on key outcomes and costs. Funding for the evaluation has been provided by the Helen Bader Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the State of Wisconsin's Department of Workforce Development.

    Several messages emerge from the findings of this report. First, through an analysis of the context in which New Hope operates, the report presents a picture of the conditions in two central-city, low-income areas within a very strong metropolitan economy. This illustrates both the benefits of the strong overall employment picture and the limits on residents' abilities to participate in the economic growth.

    Second, the New Hope Project successfully put in place the benefits and services called for in the program design, in the process learning many lessons about how to administer monthly earnings supplements, subsidies for health insurance and child care, and paid community service jobs. The program thus provides an opportunity to learn how to link more closely work and supplemental financial support than is possible under existing earned income tax credits, which largely operate on an annual basis. Among the insights emerging from the New Hope experience is the central role program staff can play in helping participants understand the various financial incentives, make informed choices, and pursue employment.

    In New Hope, unlike many other programs, participants must work to receive program benefits, so this report's findings on use of the benefits are also of special importance. New Hope was not designed with any fixed sequence of program participation. Instead, it provides a collection of benefits that participants can access as they wish. Approximately three-quarters of those accepted into the New Hope program worked full time at some point in the following 12 months and received a program benefit, but — not surprisingly — patterns of benefit use were complex and varied.

    Final results on the effectiveness of New Hope in meeting its goals must await later reports on program impacts. Nevertheless, this report illustrates how the New Hope Project succeeded in putting in place services that have the potential to provide low-income workers with a bridge from below-poverty incomes to greater economic security. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Poglinco, Susan; Brash, Julian ; Granger, Robert
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1998

    Much of the current effort to find new strategies for helping the poor is focused on finding ways to link income support more closely to work or work-related activities. The New Hope Project in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, offers an innovative approach to reducing poverty, reforming welfare, and addressing the economic insecurity of low-income workers. It seeks to increase employment and reduce poverty by creating better financial incentives to work and by changing labor market opportunities; it offers assistance that enables poor people to support themselves and their families through full-time employment. New Hope serves as a model program for planners involved in the design of welfare reform and antipoverty programs nationwide. It addresses many issues on the nation's social policy agenda, including the design and operation of the Earned Income Credit (EIC) for low-income workers, community service jobs for people who need employment, and access to health insurance and child care for working families. (author abstract)

    Much of the current effort to find new strategies for helping the poor is focused on finding ways to link income support more closely to work or work-related activities. The New Hope Project in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, offers an innovative approach to reducing poverty, reforming welfare, and addressing the economic insecurity of low-income workers. It seeks to increase employment and reduce poverty by creating better financial incentives to work and by changing labor market opportunities; it offers assistance that enables poor people to support themselves and their families through full-time employment. New Hope serves as a model program for planners involved in the design of welfare reform and antipoverty programs nationwide. It addresses many issues on the nation's social policy agenda, including the design and operation of the Earned Income Credit (EIC) for low-income workers, community service jobs for people who need employment, and access to health insurance and child care for working families. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Bos, Johannes M.; Huston, Aletha C.; Granger, Robert C.; Brock, Thomas W.; McLoyd, Vonnie C.; Duncan, Greg J.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1999

    This is the second report from the evaluation of New Hope, an innovative project developed and operated in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, that has sought to improve the lives and reduce the poverty of low-income workers and their families. New Hope relied on several components and services to increase the income, financial security, and access to full-time employment of low-income workers in two areas of Milwaukee. In these target areas, all low-income workers (and those not employed, but willing to work full time) were eligible to receive New Hope benefits. New Hope began operating as a demonstration program in 1994, enrolling volunteers during an intake period that lasted through December 1995. (author abstract)

    This is the second report from the evaluation of New Hope, an innovative project developed and operated in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, that has sought to improve the lives and reduce the poverty of low-income workers and their families. New Hope relied on several components and services to increase the income, financial security, and access to full-time employment of low-income workers in two areas of Milwaukee. In these target areas, all low-income workers (and those not employed, but willing to work full time) were eligible to receive New Hope benefits. New Hope began operating as a demonstration program in 1994, enrolling volunteers during an intake period that lasted through December 1995. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Macomber, Jennifer Ehrle; Seefeldt, Kristin S.; Snyder, Kathleen; McMahon, Patricia
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    More than other states, Wisconsin eliminated the entitlement to cash assistance by linking receipt of welfare to work. The state's W-2 program focuses heavily on job readiness and is designed to mirror the work world. A four-tier system places recipients in different activities depending on their level of job readiness. Wisconsin also recognized child care as an important work support by creating a single child care system for all low-income working families. Wisconsin is one of the only states in our study to offer kin caring for relative children a payment through the child welfare system in place of the child-only grant usually offered by the welfare office. (author abstract)

    More than other states, Wisconsin eliminated the entitlement to cash assistance by linking receipt of welfare to work. The state's W-2 program focuses heavily on job readiness and is designed to mirror the work world. A four-tier system places recipients in different activities depending on their level of job readiness. Wisconsin also recognized child care as an important work support by creating a single child care system for all low-income working families. Wisconsin is one of the only states in our study to offer kin caring for relative children a payment through the child welfare system in place of the child-only grant usually offered by the welfare office. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Huston, Aletha C.; Duncan, Greg J.; Granger, Robert; Bos, Johannes; McLoyd, Vonnie; Mistry, Rashmita; Crosby, Danielle; Gibson, Christina; Magnuson, Katherine; Romich, Jennifer; Ventura, Ana
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2001

    We assess the impact of the New Hope Project, an antipoverty program tested in a random assignment experimental design, on family functioning and developmental outcomes for preschool- and school-aged children (N = 913). New Hope offered wage supplements sufficient to raise family income above the poverty threshold and subsidies for child care and health insurance to adults who worked full-time. New Hope had strong positive effects on boys' academic achievement, classroom behavior skills, positive social behavior, and problem behaviors, as reported by teachers, and on boys' own expectations for advanced education and occupational aspirations. There were not corresponding program effects for girls. The child outcomes may have resulted from a combination of the following: Children in New Hope families spent more time in formal child care pro-grams and other structured activities away from home than did children in control families. New Hope parents were employed more, had more material resources, reported more social support, and expressed less stress and more optimism about...

    We assess the impact of the New Hope Project, an antipoverty program tested in a random assignment experimental design, on family functioning and developmental outcomes for preschool- and school-aged children (N = 913). New Hope offered wage supplements sufficient to raise family income above the poverty threshold and subsidies for child care and health insurance to adults who worked full-time. New Hope had strong positive effects on boys' academic achievement, classroom behavior skills, positive social behavior, and problem behaviors, as reported by teachers, and on boys' own expectations for advanced education and occupational aspirations. There were not corresponding program effects for girls. The child outcomes may have resulted from a combination of the following: Children in New Hope families spent more time in formal child care pro-grams and other structured activities away from home than did children in control families. New Hope parents were employed more, had more material resources, reported more social support, and expressed less stress and more optimism about achieving their goals than did parents in the control sample. The results suggest that an anti-poverty program that provides support for combining work and family responsibilities can have beneficial effects on the development of school-age children. (author abstract)

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