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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: Hein, Maria L.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2006

    The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) began funding Individual Development Account (IDA) programs for low-income refugees in October 1999. The objectives of ORR’s IDA program are: 1) "to promote the participation of refugees in the financial institutions of this country;" and 2) "to assist refugees in purchasing assets to promote their economic self-sufficiency."

    The Office of Refugee Resettlement’s IDA program, as described in the 1999 Program Announcement (Federal Register, June, 9, 1999), is designed to help participants to purchase assets, as a means of increasing their financial independence. Program participants receive financial literacy training and have the opportunity to open a matched savings account. IDA program participants must save toward one of the following savings goals:

    • Homeownership or renovation;
    • Microenterprise capitalization;
    • Post-secondary education;
    • Vocational training or recertification;
    • Automobile purchase (if needed to maintain or upgrade employment)
    • Computer purchase (for one’s...

    The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) began funding Individual Development Account (IDA) programs for low-income refugees in October 1999. The objectives of ORR’s IDA program are: 1) "to promote the participation of refugees in the financial institutions of this country;" and 2) "to assist refugees in purchasing assets to promote their economic self-sufficiency."

    The Office of Refugee Resettlement’s IDA program, as described in the 1999 Program Announcement (Federal Register, June, 9, 1999), is designed to help participants to purchase assets, as a means of increasing their financial independence. Program participants receive financial literacy training and have the opportunity to open a matched savings account. IDA program participants must save toward one of the following savings goals:

    • Homeownership or renovation;
    • Microenterprise capitalization;
    • Post-secondary education;
    • Vocational training or recertification;
    • Automobile purchase (if needed to maintain or upgrade employment)
    • Computer purchase (for one’s education or microenterprise).

    At the time that funds are withdrawn for a qualifying asset purchase, the withdrawals are matched. Some of ORR’s IDA program grantees offer a 1:1 match (i.e., in these programs, an individual participant can have a maximum of $4,000 of their savings matched, receiving a $4,000 match, for a total of $8,000 toward their asset purchase). The remainder offer a 2:1 match (i.e., in these programs, an individual participant can have a maximum of $2,000 of their savings matched, receiving a $4,000 match, for a total of $6,000 toward their asset purchase).

    In order to qualify for ORR’s IDA program, a refugee (see footnote 1) must:

    • Have earned income
    • Have a household earned income that does not exceed 200 percent of the federal poverty level (at the time of program enrollment)
    • Have assets that do not exceed $10,000 (at the time of enrollment), excluding the value of a primary residence.

    (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Williams Shanks, Trina R.; Boddie, Stephanie C.; Rice, Solana
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2010

    This research examines individual development account (IDA) programs as part of a broader community development strategy for low-income/low-wealth communities, particularly communities of color. Through a review of multiple literatures and detailed case studies, we explore the potential of explicitly creating a community-based, family-centered development account program as a step toward a comprehensive community asset building approach in low-income urban neighborhoods. From the perspective of IDA practitioners, such an approach provides program participants with local support networks and access to additional services. From the perspective of grassroots community organizers, such an approach provides tangible benefits to low-income residents of their neighborhoods. The likelihood of success may depend on the availability of local resources to build areas of strength and reduce vulnerabilities, but there are examples where a family-centered, community-based asset building approach seems to thrive. (Author abstract)

    This research examines individual development account (IDA) programs as part of a broader community development strategy for low-income/low-wealth communities, particularly communities of color. Through a review of multiple literatures and detailed case studies, we explore the potential of explicitly creating a community-based, family-centered development account program as a step toward a comprehensive community asset building approach in low-income urban neighborhoods. From the perspective of IDA practitioners, such an approach provides program participants with local support networks and access to additional services. From the perspective of grassroots community organizers, such an approach provides tangible benefits to low-income residents of their neighborhoods. The likelihood of success may depend on the availability of local resources to build areas of strength and reduce vulnerabilities, but there are examples where a family-centered, community-based asset building approach seems to thrive. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Riccio, James A.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2013

    Conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs use financial incentives that offer low-income families a way to reduce their immediate poverty while taking steps to improve their human capital. CCTs have spread across many lower- and middle-income nations with varying degrees of success. The first comprehensive CCT program in a high-income nation was a privately funded demonstration project conducted in New York City called Opportunity NYC—Family Rewards. This program was designed by the New York City Center for Economic Opportunity and nongovernmental agencies in collaboration with MDRC and offered financial rewards tied to children's education progress, family preventive health-care practices, and parents' employment. It is the subject of an ongoing long-term random assignment evaluation by researchers at MDRC. Preliminary evaluation results covering the program's early operational phase were released in 2010 and summarized by IRP. In this issue of Fast Focus, James Riccio shares new evaluation results published by MDRC in September 2013. In brief, Riccio and his team found that...

    Conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs use financial incentives that offer low-income families a way to reduce their immediate poverty while taking steps to improve their human capital. CCTs have spread across many lower- and middle-income nations with varying degrees of success. The first comprehensive CCT program in a high-income nation was a privately funded demonstration project conducted in New York City called Opportunity NYC—Family Rewards. This program was designed by the New York City Center for Economic Opportunity and nongovernmental agencies in collaboration with MDRC and offered financial rewards tied to children's education progress, family preventive health-care practices, and parents' employment. It is the subject of an ongoing long-term random assignment evaluation by researchers at MDRC. Preliminary evaluation results covering the program's early operational phase were released in 2010 and summarized by IRP. In this issue of Fast Focus, James Riccio shares new evaluation results published by MDRC in September 2013. In brief, Riccio and his team found that Family Rewards' effects through the end of the program and into the early post-program period were more modest than had been hoped for, but the range of positive effects justifies continuing to experiment with the CCT concept to try to improve it. A "next generation" version of the model is now being tested in the Bronx, NY, and Memphis, Tennessee.  (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Dechausay, Nadine; Miller, Cynthia; Quiroz-Becerra, Victoria
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2014

    In 2007, New York City launched the first test of a conditional cash transfer program in the United States. Called Family Rewards, the program sought to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty by offering cash assistance to poor families to reduce immediate hardship, but conditioned this assistance on families’ efforts to improve their health, further their children’s education, and increase parents’ work and earnings, in the hope of reducing poverty over the long term. The program had positive effects on some outcomes, but left others unchanged. Building on the lessons learned from that evaluation led to the next iteration and test of the model — called Family Rewards 2.0, the subject of this report.

    Family Rewards 2.0 was launched in July 2011 in the Bronx, New York and Memphis, Tennessee. While still offering rewards in the areas of children’s education, family health, and parents’ work, Family Rewards 2.0 has fewer rewards in each domain, offers the education rewards only to high school students, makes the rewards more timely by paying them each month, and...

    In 2007, New York City launched the first test of a conditional cash transfer program in the United States. Called Family Rewards, the program sought to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty by offering cash assistance to poor families to reduce immediate hardship, but conditioned this assistance on families’ efforts to improve their health, further their children’s education, and increase parents’ work and earnings, in the hope of reducing poverty over the long term. The program had positive effects on some outcomes, but left others unchanged. Building on the lessons learned from that evaluation led to the next iteration and test of the model — called Family Rewards 2.0, the subject of this report.

    Family Rewards 2.0 was launched in July 2011 in the Bronx, New York and Memphis, Tennessee. While still offering rewards in the areas of children’s education, family health, and parents’ work, Family Rewards 2.0 has fewer rewards in each domain, offers the education rewards only to high school students, makes the rewards more timely by paying them each month, and includes family guidance. The addition of guidance, or having staff members actively help families develop strategies to earn rewards, represents the biggest change to the original model.

    MDRC is evaluating the program through a randomized controlled trial involving approximately 1,200 families in each city, half of whom can receive the cash rewards if they meet the required conditions, and half of whom have been assigned to a control group that cannot receive the rewards. This report presents early findings on the program’s implementation and families’ receipt of rewards during the first two years. (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2017

    This report is a three-year evaluation of the Financial Empowerment Center initiative's replication in 5 cities (Denver, CO; Lansing, MI; Nashville, TN; Philadelphia, PA and San Antonio, TX). Financial Empowerment Centers (FECs) offer professional, one-on-one financial counseling as a free public service. The evaluation draws on data from 22,000 clients who participated in 57,000 counseling sessions across these first 5 city replication partners, and provides additional evidence of the program's success. (Author introduction)

    This report is a three-year evaluation of the Financial Empowerment Center initiative's replication in 5 cities (Denver, CO; Lansing, MI; Nashville, TN; Philadelphia, PA and San Antonio, TX). Financial Empowerment Centers (FECs) offer professional, one-on-one financial counseling as a free public service. The evaluation draws on data from 22,000 clients who participated in 57,000 counseling sessions across these first 5 city replication partners, and provides additional evidence of the program's success. (Author introduction)

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