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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: 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)
  • Individual Author: Schreiner, Mark; Clancy, Margaret; Sherraden, Michael
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2002

    The American Dream Demonstration (ADD) is the first systematic study of Individual Development Account (IDA) programs. IDAs are special accounts wherein savings are matched for the poor.

    While saving is not easy for anyone, it is more difficult for the poor because they have few resources and because they lack access to some public policy mechanisms, such as tax-benefited retirement accounts, that subsidize saving. IDAs are designed to increase savings incentives for the poor. Savings in IDAs are matched if used for home ownership, post-secondary education, microenterprise, or other approved asset uses. Participants also receive financial education and support from IDA staff.

    Do IDAs work? ADD suggests that the poor can save and accumulate assets in IDAs:

    Average monthly net deposits per participant were $19.07.

    The average participant saved about $1 for every $2 that could have been matched.

    The average participant made a deposit in about 6 of every 12 months.

    With an average match rate of about 2:1, participants accumulated...

    The American Dream Demonstration (ADD) is the first systematic study of Individual Development Account (IDA) programs. IDAs are special accounts wherein savings are matched for the poor.

    While saving is not easy for anyone, it is more difficult for the poor because they have few resources and because they lack access to some public policy mechanisms, such as tax-benefited retirement accounts, that subsidize saving. IDAs are designed to increase savings incentives for the poor. Savings in IDAs are matched if used for home ownership, post-secondary education, microenterprise, or other approved asset uses. Participants also receive financial education and support from IDA staff.

    Do IDAs work? ADD suggests that the poor can save and accumulate assets in IDAs:

    Average monthly net deposits per participant were $19.07.

    The average participant saved about $1 for every $2 that could have been matched.

    The average participant made a deposit in about 6 of every 12 months.

    With an average match rate of about 2:1, participants accumulated approximately $700 per year in IDAs. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Ciurea, Michelle; Blain, Alexandra; DeMarco, Donna; Mills, Gregory
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2002

    This report presents the findings from the second year of the process study associated with the national evaluation of the Assets for Independence Demonstration, a federal program that provides funding to individual development account (IDA) projects nationwide. The demonstration was established in 1998 through congressional enactment of the Assets for Independence Act (AFIA).

    This report describes the experiences of six AFIA projects in developing and implementing their IDA initiatives. The report contains (1) an overview of the Assets for Independence Demonstration program and the congressionally mandated national evaluation, (2) case studies of each of the six projects visited in 2002, and (3) a cross-site assessment of promising practices and other lessons learned.(author summary)

    This report presents the findings from the second year of the process study associated with the national evaluation of the Assets for Independence Demonstration, a federal program that provides funding to individual development account (IDA) projects nationwide. The demonstration was established in 1998 through congressional enactment of the Assets for Independence Act (AFIA).

    This report describes the experiences of six AFIA projects in developing and implementing their IDA initiatives. The report contains (1) an overview of the Assets for Independence Demonstration program and the congressionally mandated national evaluation, (2) case studies of each of the six projects visited in 2002, and (3) a cross-site assessment of promising practices and other lessons learned.(author summary)

  • Individual Author: McCulloch, Heather
    Reference Type: Stakeholder Resource
    Year: 2005

    To expand ownership, one must start by confronting the reality that millions of Americans do not have the means and opportunity to be owners today. The good news is that the current policy; environment gives states the opportunity to advance asset-building policies that help more residents save and invest in themselves, their families, and their communities. Even in today's tight fiscal conditions, state asset policy initiatives are brokering near-term strategies that are leveraging public (federal and state) and private (business and philanthropic) resources to help families build assets. And these asset policy initiatives are building a new policy dialogue that is laying the groundwork to implement longer-term strategies. Although these asset-building policies represent just the; beginning of statewide efforts, they are already helping to open up economic opportunities for working families. If successful, over time, these state initiatives will result in; broader ownership and a brighter future for America’s working families. (Author abstract)

    To expand ownership, one must start by confronting the reality that millions of Americans do not have the means and opportunity to be owners today. The good news is that the current policy; environment gives states the opportunity to advance asset-building policies that help more residents save and invest in themselves, their families, and their communities. Even in today's tight fiscal conditions, state asset policy initiatives are brokering near-term strategies that are leveraging public (federal and state) and private (business and philanthropic) resources to help families build assets. And these asset policy initiatives are building a new policy dialogue that is laying the groundwork to implement longer-term strategies. Although these asset-building policies represent just the; beginning of statewide efforts, they are already helping to open up economic opportunities for working families. If successful, over time, these state initiatives will result in; broader ownership and a brighter future for America’s working families. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Anderson, Jacquelyn; Kato, Linda Yuriko; Riccio, James A.; Blank, Susan
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2006

    What does it take to help people who hold low-wage jobs climb the economic ladder while simultaneously meeting labor market demand and employer needs for more skilled workers? MDRC's Work Advancement and Support Center (WASC) demonstration will test an innovative approach designed to achieve both these goals by fostering employment retention and career advancement for a broad range of low-earners, including reemployed dislocated workers (those who, because of industry restructuring, now work in significantly lower-paying jobs than they previously did).

    WASC combines two main strategies: (1) services to help workers keep their jobs or find better ones and (2) simplified access to programs intended to provide financial support to low-income workers (such as child care subsidies, food stamps, Medicaid, and the Earned Income Tax Credit). In the demonstration's study sites, these combined strategies are being housed in "One-Stop Centers," created by the federal Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998 and used primarily to help unemployed people find jobs. The services are being...

    What does it take to help people who hold low-wage jobs climb the economic ladder while simultaneously meeting labor market demand and employer needs for more skilled workers? MDRC's Work Advancement and Support Center (WASC) demonstration will test an innovative approach designed to achieve both these goals by fostering employment retention and career advancement for a broad range of low-earners, including reemployed dislocated workers (those who, because of industry restructuring, now work in significantly lower-paying jobs than they previously did).

    WASC combines two main strategies: (1) services to help workers keep their jobs or find better ones and (2) simplified access to programs intended to provide financial support to low-income workers (such as child care subsidies, food stamps, Medicaid, and the Earned Income Tax Credit). In the demonstration's study sites, these combined strategies are being housed in "One-Stop Centers," created by the federal Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998 and used primarily to help unemployed people find jobs. The services are being provided by newly integrated teams of retention-advancement staff drawn from the local workforce programs and work support specialists from welfare agencies. This first report from MDRC's study of WASC examines start-up experiences in Dayton, Ohio, and San Diego, California, which began planning in 2004 and pilot operations in 2005.

    Key Findings

    • 1. Dayton and San Diego are developing distinct approaches to WASC to respond to their substantially different demographic, institutional, and labor market conditions. For example, Dayton is operating in an economy hard hit by a decline in manufacturing, especially in the automotive industry. In contrast, San Diego enjoys a more vibrant economy that includes growing high-tech and service sectors.
    • 2. WASC is being viewed locally as a welcome opportunity to expand the mission of One-Stops to include services for incumbent (that is, currently employed) low-wage and dislocated workers and their employers, rather than focusing almost exclusively on an unemployed population seeking work.
    • 3. Employers have responded positively to the sites' efforts to work with them to identify advancement opportunities in high-demand occupations, new routes to participation in career advancement activities, and strategies for recruiting eligible members of their workforce for WASC.
    • 4. In learning how to develop and adapt services aimed at assisting working people, both workforce and welfare agency staff are bridging the substantial gaps between the workforce and welfare systems. This entails a major culture change to transcend the systems' traditional isolation and lack of experience combining employment services with access to work supports for low-earners.
    • 5. As part of their efforts to create an ethos of advancement, the sites are devising new management techniques and performance standards to keep the entire WASC team focused on career advancement and income improvement.
    • 6. Sites have begun outreach campaigns that market economic advancement and are initiating partnerships with employers and community-based organizations to reach low-wage workers.

    Future publications will report on the operations and effectiveness of WASC in Dayton and San Diego, as well as in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and Fort Worth, Texas, which joined the demonstration later. (author abstract)

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